Dave Hoskisson
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Dave Hoskisson - Aberdovey, Wales, 1956

I spent 3 months in Aberdovey in 1956, 2 months in the kitchens and 1 month on the course. The reason being, I left school at 15 and joined Alfred Holt (Blue Funnel Line) so I was sent there for some training. I was given an amazing wage of 25 shillings a week which in today’s money would be approximately £1.25 for my stay there...

When I worked in the kitchens I would be off from 1pm until 2pm, so this was the time I would go on the assault course while no one was there, to try it out. That was until I was caught, then I was told to show the new lads how it was done, hence I was not allowed to do it again until I was shown properly which was in my last month there.

I remember one the first things we did we did was kayaking and one day we had to go right up river to get an old ship’s lifeboat, which had been up there in the reeds for years. There were 5 of us and an Officer who paddled up there in kayaks to bring it back. We tied them up to the stern and climbed aboard the lifeboat and paddled the boat back. It was repaired and converted to a sailing boat, to teach lads how to sail.

I also did rock climbing, which was fun and enjoyed the mountaineering and climbing Cader Idris. I found that ok, but one lad with us lost his nerve and had to be escorted down by one of the officers. We also went on a 3 day trip aboard The Golden Valley, which was a converted fishing boat. We left Aberdovey and sailed to Bournemouth and stayed overnight, sailing back the following day – my first real taste of the sea.

Being in the training school for 3 months and away from home at 15 for the first time was a great experience and I would recommend it to any young person. You grow up fast and learn to look after yourself and to think of others. It was great and I would do it all over again if I could just turn the clock back. It was just one month after my 16th birthday when I did my first trip to sea, as far away as Japan and it was thanks to The Outward Bound School that I was able to cope with life at sea.

I would appreciate being on your mailing list. It will be interesting to see how in the future this helps the young people of today.