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Topic: September 1962. An apprentices adventure.
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September 1962. An apprentices adventure.
on: July 21, 2012, 14:38

In September 1962 the Apprentices Association at the English Electric Company Kidsgrove Staffs where I worked, organised an initiative test.

This involved two man teams of apprentices trying to carry out specific tasks, starting Friday evening and to be back at work by Monday morning.

It must be said that my friend Keith and I were the youngest ones taking part, we were both just sixteen.

Each person was allowed a maximum of thirty shillings in cash for emergencies.

Specific tasks included things such as obtaining a zoo ticket, a picture of someone wearing a kilt, a signature of someone at a military base, a famous person's autograph and different coloured sands.

Off we went down the road and hitched a lift immediately for a distance of about 20 miles, that was where the chap lived so we bailed out.

Almost straight away we caught another lift to Towyn in North Wales where Keith’s aunty had a caravan and where we could lay our heads for the night.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, she wasn’t there that weekend.

It was getting quite late so we caught the bus into Rhyl and headed for the railway station, spoke to the station master, showed him our letter of authority and he allowed us to sleep in an empty carriage which was not due to go out until the early morning.

We ate the sandwiches which Keith’s mum had made for us and settled down to sleep then about seven o clock in the morning there was an enormous crash as the loco coupled up and we fell off the seats.

We piled out onto the platform and made our way out of the station ready to start on our designated tasks.

There used to be a small zoo in Rhyl so we bought a ticket for a few pence, that was one task completed.

There was a little girl wearing a tartan skirt, or kilt, as we interpreted it, so we took a photo, with her mother's permission of course.

Off we went to the Kinmel Bay army camp and obtained the signature of the corporal on the gate.

Starving hungry by now, we sat on the grass verge and lit a fire with twigs and heated up a couple cans of soup.

Boy did that taste good?

Right we said, what else can we do, well we thought about it long and hard for at least three minutes and decided that there wasn’t anything else that was feasible on our list so we went back to Rhyl railway station and travelled back home by train, we were home by Saturday afternoon tired and hungry.

Oh come on, we were only sixteen and it was the first time away from home for both of us.

Monday morning came, everyone met up in the works canteen and we turned our results in, have you ever felt silly?

Some of the older lads had managed to get to the Isle of Wight for the coloured sand and one team actually managed to get an autograph from Bruce Forsyth as he arrived for the Sunday Night at the London Palladium show.

We were the youngest ones taking part so perhaps it’s not the winning it’s the taking part that counts.

We enjoyed ourselves and it was an experience not to be missed.

David Wood

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An apprentice's adventure.
on: August 17, 2012, 19:40

I just thought that I would let you know that this story was printed in the Daily Mail on August 14th.

I submitted it about a month ago and I was very surprised when they published it.

The Mail has a daily circulation of 1.5 million so I am very pleased.


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