I am still messing around in studios, at my age too, but it keeps me busy. I was in the process of deleting some old e-mails and stumbled across this photo. Thought it might give you all a good laugh, it made me cringe.
I have just had a phone call from John Cole who left Mayfield around 1964. He called to inform me of the passing of another Mayfield old boy, his brother in law, Jeffrey Moore who, apparently, died about a month ago. I can’t say that I specifically remember either of them although, as John said, he was fiends with Derek Bird, who was one of my school ’best friends’. I’m sure that our paths must have crossed.
Its sometime since I submitted a post to the site so I thought an update due.
I have now been retired for 4 years from coaching swimming a job I enjoyed which took me as a coach on GB teams to 3 European Championships and one world championships.
With 38 years coaching behind me I have ex swimmers I coached living all over the world.
This year with my wife and my two adults children Emma and Bradley we will be traveling to Australia for just over three weeks and take in the Commonwealth Games as well as visit my brother Paul an Ex Mayfield boy in Adelaide.
The first week out there I will be staying with Philip Hubble Olympic silver medallist in 1980 and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 1982 whom I coached. My brother Paul actually coached Peter Morris who was 4th in the same Olympic final as Phil in Moscow. Its over 30 years since I have seen Phil.
I am also pleased to say one of my Ex swimmers David Hemmings now a GB coach based at Loughborough Uni has 3 swimmers he coaches selected for the English team at the Commonwealth Games one in the ladies 400 and 200 individual medley one in the Mens 50 100 and 200 breast and one in the ladies 200 breast. Of course am hoping at least one can match Phils 1982 result.
Whilst retired I still take an active interest in British swimming and have made a number of visits up to Loughborough and have had the pleasure of seeing the likes of Adam Peaty in training.
I have also been active advising to get Egham its first public swimming pool which is now under construction at a cost of 19 million and is just 200 mts from my house.
I continue to look forward on how so many Ex Mayfield boys are doing. I note Alan Booth has written recently and wonder if he is the younger brother of Michael who lived I think at 149 Brian Road. If he is I know my brother Paul who was in the same year as Michael and they often went fishing together would be pleased to hear how he is.
This week I spoke on the phone to George Baines for the first time in over 40 years. I would like to thank John Frankland, the son of the best sports teacher at Mayfield the great Stan Frankland, now sadly missed. John gave me George’s phone number and I had over an hour on the phone with him. We agreed to meet up in May as I’m off to Australia for a month to see my brother Paul. For those who knew George at Mayfield in the early 1960s you’ll be pleased to hear that he is well and still works, selling at the East London markets. He lives in North Romford not far from Chadwell Heath where he grew up just six doors away from me.
I still enjoy the website, thank you. Well, I have made it to my ninetieth year, but only because of the care given to me by my wife, family and friends, not forgetting the Medicos. I can now look back over the years and wonder what has happened to the World I knew when attending Mayfield School. It is not the safe place that my generation thought we were helping to create for our young people.
When I left Mayfield in 1940 we were war. I was sent to a Government Training Centre to learn Engineering Lathe Work. Three and a half years later I had the choice of being a ‘Bevan Boy’ (coal mining) or the services. I chose the Army, the Essex Regiment.
During my Service in the Army I went to Scotland for my training and then India. We flew out in the bomb bay of a Lancaster Bomber. Thirteen men on each side knee to knee and shoulder to shoulder. From India I went by ship with a contingent of Indian Soldiers to Japan. We arrived after sailing through a cyclone in the China Sea. That was quite an experience with the boat being completely swamped by the sea. I think I was the only Brit on the Boat.
When we arrived in Kure Naval Base, Hiroshima, it was total devastation for as far as I could see and all the ships in the harbour had sunk. The Japanese people were devastated, with very little food or clothing.
In June 1947 I was sent to another post to join up with the British Army. Another long sea voyage from Japan to Egypt to GHQ Middle East Land Forces at Fayid on the Bitter Lakes, Suez. In October I set sail again, this time for home and demob.
On arrival at home I found some work and at the same time met my wife Diana. We married in December 1948 and our daughter, Kay, was born in 1950. In 1951 we emigrated to Australia.
We had several business’s in the catering world and I was fortunate enough to finish my working life, together with three other men, running a large Banqueting section, which could seat 1300, in a new Casino owned by the American Hilton Family.
What does the future hold? Who’s knows, but we look forward together to whatever is in store. To everyone at Mayfield Memories, have a very happy and healthy New Year.
Five Old Boys have made Sixty Five
From left to right
Dave Byrne, Colin Thompson, Rick Wood, Alan Wetherill, Alan Westall
Sydney Smith arrived for the cricket tour of a life time, well for us Oz supporters it was. Now, now don’t spit the dummy. Just before Syd arrived in NSW I took a long walk off of a short scaffold. My collar bone detached itself and I was not a happy chappie. Instead of me running up to Sydney, Syd came down for an overnight stop. We did the normal reminiscing over a few beers, and we found with the march of time memories tend to blur. But we did have some good memories, helped by the amber fluid. The photo was taken when Syd was leaving for Sydney then the Old Dart.
Sydney Smith and John Burchell
A very happy new year to all on Mayfield Memories. It is some time since I wrote and 2013 was a big year for my wife, Diana, and I. It was our 65th wedding anniversary and also my 87th birthday. As you will see from the photograph we celebrated it at the local yacht club with our daughter, two grand sons and the fiancée of our eldest grandson. It is a lovely club and was very enjoyable.
The photo below was taken on my 87th Birthday
Now for the weather… we see that you’ve been having some poor seasons lately, I don’t want to make you jealous but for us it has been uncomfortably hot, mid thirties most days. But this is the Gold Coast of Australia, the country’s play-ground, and was perfect for Christmas parties on the beach.
I have today (19th September 2013) spoken to Derek Spratt who, thanks to Mayfield teacher Derek Trewin, was given my phone number as they both live close to each other in Bideford. Derek was a swimmer and later Head Swimming Coach at Ilford Swimming Club. He is recovering from a very bad illness and I am sure a number of Mayfield Memories Members who swam at Ilford, Seven Kings and Sans Egal Swimming Clubs will wish him well. During our conversation he informed me that Gerry Larcombe, a teacher at Mayfield, had died in a traffic accident in the 1980s. Gerry was a diving judge at the 1960 Rome Olympics, and in the 1970s was President of the Southern Counties Swimming Association.
8th December 2013 – I know a number of the Mayfield Memories site members swam competitively for the local swimming clubs in the late 1950s and early 60s and will be sorry to hear that today I recieved an email from Derek Spratt’s daughter that he passed away yesterday. Derek was not a Mayfield School pupil but swam for Ilford Swimming Club and was also Head Coach for a period. He will be well known by many on this site and I am sure they will be sorry to hear the news. I know Derek was particularly keen to make contact with Pat Baines who was a Mayfield School pupil and swam for Great Britain and her brother George who was also a Mayfield pupil.
13th December 2013 – On Wed 18th December I will be travelling down to Devon and staying overnight with Mayfield teacher Derek Trewin so I can attend the funeral of Derek Spratt. Whilst searching through old photos etc to take down to him I found the football team sheet for the 1964 Dagenham Council Playleader Scheme cup final. It was held on the 7th March 1964 at the old Dagenham arena.
In our line up for All Saints United (St Chads Park) were at least eight Mayfield boys including Pat Lavery, who is a regular contributor to this site, and four of us played in the school cup final for Mayfield v Beal a year later. The team was; in Goal D. Smith, RB Geoff Hopkins, LB Colin Webb, RH Paul Cane, CH Micky Pereira, LH Brian Meaks, RW Malcolm Staight, IR Paul Sutton, CF J. Murrey, IL R. Richardson, LW Pat Lavery. I remember we won but does Pat remember the score as I don’t?
I was at Mayfield with Ken Anderson. We are still great mates now even though we live about seventy miles apart. I would have left Mayfield in 1972 but moved away and left in 1969.