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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Lyndon Bournon (Memories) - 1964 to 1969

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I really appreciate the website. Teachers I particularly liked at F.G.S. were Nuncs, ‘Charlie’ Upton and Tom Pascoe. Tom Pascoe liked the fact that my brother had gone into farming, as he had an interest in beef cattle. Someone else I’m always grateful to (even though we didn’t get on) was Peter Mound - the Head of Music. I made a point of telling him how much he’d helped me when he was in the midst of teaching a 6th form group, when I visited the school in the mid seventies. He beamed from ear to ear.

Mr. Duke, mathematics master, was a more than a little disabled and suffered somewhat from cruel taunts. I wish now I had done something to stop it.

I remember one winter Prod lecturing us on the dangers of throwing snowballs, backed up by his telling us that a former pupil had lost an eye after being hit. One afternoon after a heavy snowfall (I think 1968) some of us were waiting on Sandy Lane for the Yateley and Eversley coach when Mr. Paine walked from the huts to cross to the main campus. I lobbed a snowball in his direction, which unfortunately hit him on the head. He went spare, immediately marching me off to see Wally Cotgreave, deputy head. I was confused, because Mr. Paine was almost one of the lads, but suddenly realised that he had a glass eye and recalled that he was also a former pupil… I apologised profusely, he calmed down and let me off. A great guy indeed.

One of several ways of avoiding cadets on Fridays was to join one of the small specialist groups that sprang up in the early 1960s. One such group of miscreants was the Surveyors which kept their gear in the Cadet Force’s band hut but didn’t have to wear any uniform. Generally we ate our lunch there, etc. (often a pork pie from the dairy). One day, we were bored, and began hurling the surveying rods (which were little different from striped javelins) at the inside walls of the hut. For some reason, my best friend Nick Rumble and I, for no obvious reason, decided to leave and as we walked away from the band hut noticed some teachers (one, I recall, was Bradley) heading towards it. We could also see the ‘javelins’ protruding from the hut. The rest of our bunch were caught red-handed.

Now, you’d imagine that an event such as this would have resulted in dire consequences, but instead, our punishment was for us all (it became known that Nick and I had also been culprits) merely to rectify the damage and to do a week’s Jankers (courtesy of Jo Thomas). We got hold of some sheets of hardboard and sort of fixed the hut, but Yours Truly never reported for Jankers, and nothing was ever said. Very strange. Was it just impossible for the F.G.S. higher-ups to acknowledge that a group of grammar school pupils could possibly have acted in such a vandalistic way? I still don’t know.

Like most people, I feared Jo Thomas and the way he loved to instill terror into the hearts of youngsters should never have been allowed. However when my brother Courtenay (F.G.S. 1956-1961, known as Corky) and I visited the school in 1970 he greeted us like long lost cousins and took us to see Wally Cotgreave. Having been a teacher myself for most of the past 35 years, I now recognise that there were some excellent teachers at F.G.S. and some who should probably never been allowed to be anywhere near a teaching situation.

Even though I had been in the ‘Fast Stream’ at F.G.S., by the time I was in the 4th form, I was simply putting in time, and at the end of the 5th form left to go out to work. I remember going in one day after exams to hand in some stuff, and then running (literally) away from the place. Many of my wiser classmates wound up at Oxford, Cambridge, etc., but it wasn’t for me.

Lyndon Bournon : August 2010

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