Matthew Marshall
Back to alumni stories

Matthew Marshall - Aberdovey, Wales, 1991

I grew up with the Outward Bound in my blood, or that is how it felt at the time, fascinated by my father's stories and the impact it had upon his life.

My father secured funding to attend the Aberdovey centre, a world away from his home in working class Cleethorpes (Grimsby). He was awe struck by his first sight of mountains and nurtured by the positive role models he encountered among the instructors. He was encouraged 'to serve, to strive, and not to yield', a phrase he quoted repeatedly to all three sons. As a young man he broke out from the narrow confines of his home area to spread his wings, and seek self improvement through hard work, lifelong learning, dedication and sacrifice. His view on life was definitely influence by the Outward Bound; he believed in himself and his ability to improve his family. A quote from Kurt Hahn, co-founder, epitomises my father's view on life.

'we are all better than we know. If only we can be brought to realise this, we may never be prepared to settle for anything less'.

Catching pneumonia during the last week of the course (in February) meant a prolonged stay in Aberdovey. He was well looked after but without visitors or family around him it must have been a difficult experience. My mother was taken to Aberdovey as they drove through Wales on their honeymoon (1966) and they really enjoyed attending an activity day in his retirement.

My father encouraged each of his three sons to attend the Outward Bound, to develop our confidence, self reliance, leadership, team work and social skills. He made a commitment to support any children within the family attend a course. Following his recent death we have been delighted to raise funds for the Outward Bound to support young people in Grimsby attend a course. If the life of one young person is affected by their experience then we can all be very satisfied. If that one person has three sons and "�

My memories of Aberdovey;
"� Outstanding oat-cakes / flapjack.
"� Warm Norwegian Army? Jumpers - rough cut but perfect for the job.
"� Tacking across the estuary in the sailing boats. I had no fear, leaning over the side as far as possible and as long as possible. I would have done this all day long.
"� Camping on the side of Cader Idris, still my favorite mountain.
"� Wearing out a pair of hiking boots in 3 weeks and putting on a stone in muscle.
"� The high rope course was amazing.
"� Working as a team; to conquer the spiders web, team races on the skies, the assault course wall and the many other exercises to develop leadership and team skills.
"� I turned the minimum age for the 3 week course in its last week and really enjoyed the social experience with a group of young adults. There was also a health sense of competition.
"� Being given responsibility and finding a sense of achievement were all good for the soul of an adolescent on the brink of adulthood.