Wednesday 14 March 2018

Memories ... School Days

Hi there everyone 😊

Today's post is something a bit different and it may feel just a little random. It was inspired by an old school friend recently asking a question of our Facebook community.

She'd got a new job and had been asked for copies of her ‘A’ Level certificates, which she no longer had. She wanted to know which exam board we had sat them under, so she could try and get duplicates.

Another old school friend, who runs an antiques shop with her husband, was surprised she hadn’t kept them as hers were all kept safely together in a folder.

The response was something along the lines of ... “no wonder you sell antinques, you should be more like Carol and de-clutter”.

It really made me smile as I had indeed, recently decluttered all of my old paperwork and lots had been rearranged or disposed of ... But not my certificates, oh no. I just didn’t have the heart to get rid of them.

It made me dig them out and have a good old reminisce. I thought it might be nice to do a blog post about them and the memories they hold.

Until I was about 12 we lived in Peterborough and I went to the Southfields County Junior School. My oldest certificate is from a school sports day in 1973. I would have been 9 years old and in the 1st year, which is probably now classed as Year 4.
You would be forgiven for not believing it now but I did used to be quite sporty you know 😃

I came 2nd in the long jump ... I’m laughing now just thinking about it. That sense of nervousness as I would have stood with one foot on the board at the beginning of the run up, waiting to be given the whistle to go. The run along the sandy path towards the sand pit, in total concentration, making sure my foot wasn’t over the board when taking off for my jump. Then trying so hard not to fall backwards after landing.

I have more sports day certificates from my 2nd year sports day. This time I either didn’t do well in the long jump or I had moved onto more exciting things. I came 1st in both the egg and spoon and the 60m skipping races 😂

It seems so funny now, but at 10 years old these things were taken very seriously you know.

I’ve got just two more certificates from my primary school days and I'm sure most children across the UK are still achieving these today.

My first swimming certificate. I used to hate swimming with a passion. At primary school we had a small outdoor swimming pool and we would get changed and run across the freezing cold playground to be able to use it and, of course, swimming hats were compulsory.
Like sport, as I’ve got older, swimming is no longer something I do very often. Unless of course I am in glorious sunshine, in a hot country, with sun beds and cold drinks on tap, and then only for the purpose of cooling down.

The last one is my cycling proficiency. I still have the badge too, in a tin of bits and pieces I just can’t bear to part with. I’ve always enjoyed riding my bike and at primary school I can remember us having road markings painted around the school grounds where we used to practice and where we took our cycling proficiency test.

The more I think about it the more I am beginning to think my primary school was actually fairly well resourced, by today’s standards.

The sporting theme continued onto secondary school where I used to take part in lots of different sports depending on the time of year.

There was athletics ...
The top certificate it is marked on the back that I threw the shot 5.23m, achieved a 3.30m long jump and completed the hurdles in 16.4 seconds. Whilst I wouldn’t even contemplate jumping a hurdle now, in my head I can still recall the jumping action quite clearly, with one leg out to the front and one tucked behind.

The bottom certificate has some different things on the back ... I threw the rounders ball 31.33m, the javelin 11.78m and I ran 800m, I know ... 800m, in 3.58 minutes.Clearly I must have loved throwing things as I’ve another four certificates for either rounders ball or javelin throwing.

The top certificate is looking a little shabby and I remember going to an after school athletics meeting where a bottle of dandelion and burdock was opened, fizzing up and going everywhere. It ruined my certificate within minutes of me having received it. I still had to keep it though.
It wasn’t all about athletics, oh no ... there was gymnastics ...

... I can still do a handspring over the box you know ... in my head 😂

There was a 20 mile sponsored walk with a school friend and my dad. That was a long old way ... I can’t quite believe we walked that far, but I have the certificate, so we must have.There was even a bit of bouncing ...That stopped after my first year in secondary, as we moved and it wasn’t something that was available in my new school. I still can’t resist the lure of a garden trampoline though.

And there was a bit more swimming, which got even less enjoyable as I got older. Whilst I am glad I can swim, and you never know when you are going to have to make a float out of your PJs, schools should definitely give more thought to girls and their hair when it comes to swimming.There were also lots of team sports at school. I used to love playing hockey and would often play a game on a Saturday morning for school and then for the local town team in the afternoon ...
That's me, front left, and my best friend Lesley in the middle

I must have got this from my mum, she always played and has only recently stopped playing ... well she is in her 70s now.
I'm not sure mum will thank me for this photo, but it was taken in 2009, so she would have been just short of 70 at the time, and still going strong.

If there is anyone reading who remembers those trips to inter school hockey matches in the old red mini bus I'm just going to leave this here and I defy you not to be singing it in your head ...

"We are the Tamworth girls
we wear our hair in curls
We wear our fathers shirts as mini mini skirts
We never smoke or drink
That’s what our parents think
And when it comes to boys
We treat ‘em like our toys
Na na na na na na
na na na na na na"

It wasn’t all totally about sport. It seems I liked sewing the odd bits and pieces too. Now that is something that I do still like, as you will all know.
There is also one certificate for general merit. I can’t remember for the life of me what I would have done to have been awarded this ...Finally, other than the usual academic certificates I have my bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh Award certificates.
I’ve still also got the little log book where all the activities were recorded.
And fancy this being in there. I have no recollection of this activity at all, but I wonder if it inspired me to go and work in the financial services industry for 30 years.
I’ve still also got my invitation to St James’s Palace, where I received my award from Prince Phillip himself.
I’ve even got the photos that were taken on the day ... one of the very few times I’ve ever worn a hat.
That’s not the end of the certificate folder. I’ve lots more, but all fairly boring compared to those I’ve shared with you today. Academic and work qualifications in the main, but I think I will leave it there for now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my stroll down memory lane. Have you still got your old certificates or are you like my old school friend and have just chucked them out over time? I’d love to know 😀



  1. Replies
    1. She is pretty impressive. When we go Geocaching she is always the one that has to climb the trees or get into the tricky places, she is far fitter than I am, even at 70+ 😃

    2. health for many years for her

    3. Thank you Elena - I really hope so. x


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