School of magic

Due to an admirable acknowledgement of our recent Whitehough Camp School column here is another episode from those days of magic, decades before mobile phones, laptops and fastfood.

This feature is dedicated to my great pal, ex-journalist (our very own Leader-Times writer of reknown) Eric Greenwood, who has so many fond memories of our under-threat Whitehough Camp School.

Back in time to 1954 and it’s a special Whitehough Camp School outing for around a dozen Primet Secondary Modern School pupils to the very nearby legendary Roughlee Hall, “as seen”, led by our teachers Miss Ida (Fanny) Briggs and Mr Edgar Peel.

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Our lesson in the blazing sun is to sketch the hall, sitting on a grassy bank, while Mr Peel tells us of the maligned Pendle witch Alice Nutter who lived at the hall during those misdirected times. As calling curlews fly all around we laugh and joke in the sun, trying to emulate Miss Briggs’ superb drawing of the ancient hall as we enjoy our bottles of Tizer and cream soda. Dave Bolton wins a half-a-crown for the best sketch of the day which he promptly spends on our return to camp on two six-penny bottles of Fanta pop and six three-penny packets of Seabrook’s crisps. We shared a Billy Bunter feast!

Later that memorable week a giant camp fire is built and as twilight time arrives we all sit round the roaring fire eating bacon butties as pipistrelle bats swoop around in the evening shadows. Suddenly Roger Cookson starts singing our favourite camp school song and we all happily sing along (to the tune of “There’s a tavern in the town”) with gusto.

“There’s a legend in this camp

(In this camp)

That’s why Fanny has a lamp.

(Has a lamp)

Then one day a beetle in her bed;

This is what she said:

(She said)

‘Naughty beetle go away;

(Go away)

I’m afraid you cannot stay.

(Cannot stay)

Remember what Ken Oldham said:

‘No two people in one bed’

(In one bed)”.

It’s now well over 60 years ago but the sheer joy and laughter singing our Miss Briggs song will be with me forever.

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