Thursday, 10 December 2015

Scarborough - Wednesday 9th December 2015

My diary

Flat out all day. I started by downloading the news for Scotland and then South Wales. Next I processed two more new listeners. I produced the agenda for next week's Lions meeting and also got the final instructions away for Sunday and Father Christmas in Fradley.

Pauline was out to lunch with the girls. I took her to The George and then went to the Sorting Office where they had 5 sacks of returns. I cooked myself a nice meal and then started processing the returns. It took 3 hours and that was the afternoon gone.

I took the news to the studio and chatted to Peter about the plans for Christmas week (I will do all the editions that week) and then came back for an hour of the Comedy Road Show to cheer us both up. Five comedians, all funny and all fresh material. Very satisfying.

My Meanderings

Now we go to North Yorkshire and as we move south the visits were more frequent and often more detailed. I'll start with Scarborough because that evokes special memories.

About 30 or more years ago the Lions started to take a coach load of OAPs to York for a day. We got to see a lot of that city. We had been doing it for a couple of years when Scarborough Lions told us of an hotel that would take disadvantaged kids for a week, some 13 different groups over 13 weeks of summer. We thought it was a great and altruistic idea and toured the schools looking for 12 kids to take. This we did.
What we found was that some of the were neglected but the majority had as much (if not more) pocket money than most kids and it wasn't hitting all the notes. I asked if they would take special needs kids and they said they'd try it. So I went to Rocklands Special School (this is how  became a governor there - for 30 years) and we made up a group of 12, top be accompanied by two teachers.
We put 30 seniors on the coach and then the kids. I'd worried about reactions but everything was brilliant. The kids were soon going around and sitting with and chatting to the mostly old ladies. We dropped the seniors in York for a few hours and I carried on up to Scarborough to the hotel, which was situated on the cliff top not far from the funicular railway that serves the beach.
We settled the kids in and I had a little time to look around the town, then it was back to York to take the seniors home. The following week we took another 30 seniors to York and then I went up to Scarborough to collect the kids. At the hotel I was met by two worried faces as the management greeted me. I asked if there'd been problems and they said that the kids had been brilliant, much better than 'normal' children.
They said that the children were lovely and lovable and they'd do it again, but they'd eaten more than twice the weekly allowance. I laughed and paid the hotel another £70 (quite a bit 30 years ago) and said that was a feature of Downs Syndrome. I asked where everyone was and was told they were down at the beach hut.
I didn't expect them to remember me (a misconception) even though we'd spent a lot of time together on the 4 hour journey up to Scarborough. I got to the top of the funicular and a carriage was on its way up. There was a shout of "There's John." And suddenly there were arms out of the Windows waving at me and they all ran for a cuddle when they got out.
We bonded on that journey and I became a small part of the school, right up until last year. One of the boys became famous as a marathon runner, not only competing in the London Marathon but even travelling to Berlin as a guest of the Germans to run with Downs children over there.
Scarborough looked lovely from the cliff top. A horseshoe beach framed by rugged cliffs wrapping round a friendly, old fashioned seaside town. There was the obligatory castle, but that was in ruins, and the dominant feature was the large Majestic hotel looming over the town. The beach was fine sand and, along with Whitby, a popular seaside resort with people in the north east.


If you go to Scarborough today you can still enjoy a traditional seaside holiday and there is still the castle ruins to explore, plus the enigmatic North Bay Railway, Rotunda Museum or Peasholm Park for the outdoor type, and the surrounding countryside and cliff top walks for the more energetic.
Scarborough Funicular
 I like to play the guitar and sing country songs. I'm no good at the guitar but that doesn't matter because I can't sing, so the one balances out the other.

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