Wednesday, 12 August 2015

1966 Wakefield YMCA Trip to Scarborough

I think it's Michael Smith, Ian Sharpe, Charles Crosby and (in front) little me and brother Chris
Brother Chris, me and Ian Sharpe
I was 5 or 6 in these pictures; they were taken in 1966, I think. If I were to hazard a guess I would say October half term in 1966 because I think I got the monkey for a birthday. If anyone knows different or can add or complete any further names, let me know.
The "Acid Monkey" and me on the stairs at Scarborough YMCA 1966
I remember the monkey. Soon after these pictures were taken the monkey had to be returned to whatever shop it was bought from because the papers said it was too dangerous and it was recalled. Some toxic acid inside the toy, I seem to remember?
I think I'm sitting on Keith Gilling's knee, Skip is shooting me and Michael Smith is squinting.
I’ve blogged about childhood memories around Bonfire night here in this link. Another strong childhood memory is of the YMCA in Wakefield. And this particular trip to Scarborough with Chris “Skip” Wilby. My Mum was a helper on the trip and, although most of the boys were older, I was allowed to go along because my Mum was a supervisor.
Sitting in deck chairs was a big part of seaside breaks


Not sure 100% whose knee I'm on in the picture above but my Mum enjoyed the sun.
Lord alone knows what the Health and Safety or Adult/Child ratios were in those days!
Ian Sharpe, me on Skip's knee, Paul Hatton on floor, Mum and then ?
In the above picture Keith Gilling is doing something mischievous to Skip, but then he's covering my ears so I don't know what's being said...!
Skip relaxing, Malcolm Roper, Ian Sharpe, Paul Hatton and Michael Smith with back to camera
You can see from above how many people were crowding onto the sands. Was it hazy, or is that the effect of the old-style camera? My memories of childhood don’t contain rain at the seaside, although I suppose it must have rained sometimes….
On the sands, Graham on left, brother Chris on right
Graham Tracey on the left was my biggest buddy on this particular holiday, I remember. Being little I might not have been his and I expect I regularly got in the way of Big Boy Games. But I had a childish idea that Graham was my friend forever. Whatever happened to Graham? And why was brother Chris always wearing his jumper? Feeling the cold ‘cause he was so skinny, maybe?
Keith Gilling, Graham Tracey, Michael Smith burying me
So Keith, Graham and Michael buried me in the sand. And I was as happy as the day is long. But maybe they were just incapacitating me for a bit to get some peace and quiet?
Riding on a donkey.... me and Keith Gilling
Butter wouldn’t melt, would it? Great shorts, great pumps…. not quite Poldark! Keith Gilling clearly got the short straw leading the little kid along the sands on a donkey. I’ve got memories of Keith being round our house a lot during my childhood. Where is he now, I wonder?

How did Skip stay so cheerful? And had he kidnapped my monkey?
Ross Thorpe and Skip with my monkey
I would say I had two father figures when I was young, other than my own father. Skip was one of them. I was pleased to learn from my brother that Skip (Chris Wilby) is still on the Board of Management at Scarborough YMCA, having joined Wakefield YMCA at the age of 17, spent time at Guildford YMCA before returning to settle in Scarborough. The press story (easily googled) reported that he received a British Empire Medal from Lord James Crathorne at County Hall, Northallerton at the end of March 2013. He is pictured below with his daughter Sarah and wife Jenny. My memories of him is of a very calm and solid man, jokey and energetic, always willing to take part in whatever game the kids were playing.
Lord James Crathorne, daughter Sarah, Chris (Skip) Wilby with his BEM and wife Jenny
I mentioned two father figures other than my own. Now I’ve learned how to scan old photos, I can’t resist previewing a future blog by mentioning the other father figure in my life. My Mum’s brother-in-law, William Hemingway, who married my Auntie Clare.
Uncle Bill, Mum and Auntie Clare
I don’t know how I’m going to write about Uncle Bill yet, but it’s nearly a year since retiring and delving into old boxes (literal and metaphorical) is increasingly the order of the day.
William Henry Hemingway (Uncle Bill)