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Patrick O’Shea

Patrick came to visit Skippers this week to tell us about his childhood at Skippers.  Here is a snippet of what he had to tell us:

“I was born on 11th April 1940 and so was a war baby.  I became the youngest boarder at Tavistock Hall in Heathfield aged about three.  I moved to Skippers when it opened in 1945 and, aged 5, became its youngest boarder.  This was just after my mother died and Skippers became my real home until 1952.

Patrick O'Shea I really enjoyed my days at Skippers and remember the doodlebugs and the huge German bombers flying low over the grounds and buildings.  My father was in the army and that’s the two of us when I was at Tavistock Hall, I think.

Everyone was very kind to me but life was tough …so was the food!  Two of us decided to make “The Great Escape” and absconded from school and we thought we would make our way to London by following the railway tracks – what we would have done had we reached there as 8 year olds, heaven only knows!   My friend fell over and bashed his head on a sleeper so the Mayfield Stationmaster called the school and we were brought back to safety:  hot milk, a bath and bed in the evening…and a jolly good thrashing in the morning!

I left Skippers in 1952 and had a short but disastrous couple of months at a Secondary modern School where I was bullied mercilessly.  Then I moved onto King Edward VI Grammar School.  And at 16 I joined the RAF which I loved.

I have very fond memories of Skippers and the values it gave me are still with me today.  It made me consider other people and their fortunes.  It gave me an understanding that education is one of the most vital things in the world.

I have set up a charity to help the people of Haiti.  We have built a trade school which teaches young men to learn skills that will make themselves self-sufficient.

You might find this site interesting. www.timkatec.org Here you can see what an ex Skippers’ pupil gets up to in his spare time and I credit Skippers with my interest in funding the education of the poorest of the poor.

It was wonderful to visit Skippers again.”

Patrick was a very welcome visitor and we hope he comes back to England again soon.

Patrick J. O'Shea FTS CTC is the Founder of Friends of Timkatec in America.

Patrick is sitting on a classic motor car called a Lagonda ; we think he was about 7 in this picture.  We also dug out a school panoramic photograph shot in 1952 and found him on it!  Great stuff!  

Tim Lewis

Patrick by Car

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