Martin Brookes
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Martin Brookes - Aberdovey, Wales, 1954

As an 18 year old I had won a bursary from my grammer school to go for a month to the Sea Schoool at Aberdovy and I also had a place at Manchester University to study Dentistry. I assumed I should be an automatic choice for Watch Captain or equivalent, because I had heard that the majority of boys going to OB were apprentices from industry and I was obviously going to be superior in many respects.
I quickly had a very rude awakening, because when my fellow watch mates heard I was a university type, I got the job of toilet cleaner. The realisation that I was amongst top flight people, who had left school at 16 and were embarking on first class skills training, on the job in factories ,soon made me appreciate the depth of talent that I was encountering. These lads were athletes,born leaders from the start, with Queen Scout Awards and lots of common sense. At the end of my month with them I thought of myself very differently. I knew that academic achievement was not everything, it was what sort of an individual you were that mattered
I was not a natural sportsman but with a lot of hard work I did get a Merit and our watch captain got a Silver. That course in August 1954 has stood me in good stead through out my life. I am still (at 74) a keen mountain walker. I still visit Aberdovy on a regular basis and watch the lads and lasses going through their paces and have been back to the sea school several times over the years, with friends on various adult courses. In fact several of us started a Shropshire Support Group to raise money to send other young people who could not afford to go to OB, to be able to experience the unique blend of adventure and inspiration that I remembered from long ago.
I often reflect, that my month at OB was the most character forming erxperience of my life.
Thank you OB