Jack Pearson
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Jack Pearson - Aberdovey, Wales, 1960

I left Grammar school 50 years ago this week. I had been accepted by the School of Navigation at Warsash prior to a career at sea. There was no place available until January 1961 and it was thought that as I was a working class Grammar school boy I may not be tough enough for the rigours of Warsash as were the many public schoolboys who attended!! It was suggested that I attend Aberdovey sea school, so on the 19th November 1960 I duly arrived at Penhelig(?) Halt after what seemed an endless journey from my home in Kent. It was dark,cold, pouring with rain with a howling wind so I was glad to arrive at the relative warmth of my watch dorm (Fisher). On arrival I was pleased to see a couple of friendly faces-Johnny Hamilton and Dave Chappell who had been accepted by Warsash along with me,so I was not the only 16 1/2 year old there!
During our three weeks,as well as the early morning rises and on sight activities we undertook a three day sea cruise(ho!ho!) on the "Golden Valley" which surprisingly did not dampen my enthusiasm for the life at sea. This was followed by a 5 day 55 mile land expedition in the Teran Hendra region, living in an old stone building at Hendra Dhu and climbing Cader Idris, Wales 2nd highest mountain!!
My confidential report indicates that I enthusiastically entered all the activities and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It seems a cliche to say I arrived a boy and left a man(well almost!), but that's how it felt. After three weeks at Aberdovey I enjoyed a good Christmas with my family prior to attending Warsash for a year. Outward Bound certainly helped prepare me for what lay ahead-it's fair to say my stamina improved,and I was happy tackling all that was laid before me.
A year later I joined my first deep-sea liner with the Royal Mail Lines. I enjoyed 10 good years with them as an apprentice, 4/O,3/O and 2/O. In 1971 after obtaining my Master's Foreign Going Certificate I joined Townsend Car Ferries in Dover as I was about to marry. I served with them and their successors P&O for 32 years as 2/O,C/O, Master and finally Senior Master until retirement in 2003.
I remain convinced that Outward bound at Aberdovey stood me in good stead for what lay ahead and my late father was convinced it was the "best 30 quid" he'd spent!!
Good luck to all Outward Bounders and thankyou.