I’m not sure what would strike me as different if I went back to my old school to visit, but I’m pretty certain it wouldn’t be, “the bomb shelters aren’t there any more.” It might be different if I had left school in 1948, as was the case for David Austin, who made a long-hoped-for return to Hampton School last week.
David was returning to Hampton School from Canada, thanks to the Wish of a Lifetime charity, fulfilling his wish to visit his alma mater. And, for that matter, his old country - for the first time in 58 years...
The charity arranged for David and his daughter to have a wonderful tour of the, frankly unbelievable, facilities (seriously, a dedicated 380-seat theatre, as well as art, technology and sports areas to make your mouth drop. Boys of Hampton School - grab these advantages with both hands, it's an opportunity that 93% of school children couldn’t dream of).
And I was there, for the charity, to record the day for David. It was the first time I’d been back to school for well over 20 years, and apart from the considerable differences from my secondary school (the gulf in facilities second to the fact that we had something called ‘girls’ at our school), the most shocking thing was the noise as the boys filed in to assembly. I’d assume we were just as loud, but you don’t notice it when you’re part of the conversation.
Anyway, I think David thoroughly enjoyed his return (and whistlestop tour to the UK), and I enjoyed being there to record it. And to see how the 7% live!