MEMORIAL DAY, OCT. 1st, 2011.
This is a very special day for the Goldings Family - and we really are a family -that has its own unique history and a
culture, which grows stronger and deeper as the years go by.
I am sure that whatever our feelings and religious beliefs might be today is also an occasion, which is truly blessed by
the spirits of those who are no longer with us.
My father would have been so proud to have been amongst us today and very emotional too. For me, it is a privilege to
speak about a kindly, loving and fair-minded man who came from very ordinary circumstances to find his life's work
with the "Dickie’s Boys" of Goldings.
"Pinhead", as he soon became known, arrived with his young family during the last few weeks of World War 11, with
the task of changing an institution into a school. A new broom, initially sometimes resented by entrenched older staff,
but a breath of fresh air to the younger generation.
He found a situation where boys were "spare" for up to two years whilst waiting for a trade vacancy and, with no
schooling available, were meanwhile assigned to various domestic duties.
This situation he was able to change gradually over the first few years and he encouraged the development of a greater
humanity towards boys who had been denied the warmth’s and comforts of an ordinary family life during their early
New school blocks were built, a full apprenticeship scheme for printers was established and older boys were given a
clothing allowance in order to encourage them to develop their own individuality. Wimbledon came each year when
even the most mischievous were on their best behaviour and* immaculate on court, to be followed by Dymchurch
Camp for those with nowhere to go.
The rest is history and the result is before us today. I ask you; which other family would assemble and create a day of
memory for those who came through the Goldings gates but did not leave to enjoy their own independent adult life?
Goldings was my home too and I became "Pinhead Junior”. I always felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow
up during the late 40's and early 50's surrounded by the Goldings boys. I had to obey the rules too and there were clashes
at times, particularly when I was a similar age, but there was always great loyalty shown towards my father when we
were caught somewhere we should not be. They simply disowned me.
Celia, my sister, also grew up at Goldings, but for her it was a different equation with 180 boys around, particularly
during her teenage years. She was married in this church and planned to be with us today. Sadly, she died on Monday
at her home in Jersey after a long battle against cancer.
It is perhaps very apt, therefore, that I should recount two little incidents involving her, which became part of our own
1. Red ribbon and the billiard table.
One day we were outside my fathers quarters playing snooker when he woke up from a nap and came out to tell us to
cut down on the noise, at that we all burst out laughing at which he didn’t understand, but unknown to him my sister
Celia had tied a red bow on to the small amount of hair he had left.
2. Peering into the bathroom.
Our family bathroom was at the far end of the building, and we as children were aware of some of the boys would climb
round to try to gaze at my sister in the bath, but on this occasion my sister and me swapped bath nights much to the
shock of the boys who on looking in were quite surprised to see me and came to the conclusion that such a dangerous
feat was not worth the disappointing outcome!
They were happy days!
My father particularly loved the occasions when old boys returned, often with wives and a family in tow. And look how
we still do it today 44 years after the doors finally closed: A decision which gave him enormous heartache and, to my
mind, contributed to his early demise at the age of 69.
If he was with us now he would be the first to say that none of it would have been possible without the support of my
mother and the utter devotion of his staff, still represented today by my own dear old friend (Pop) Steele. Like Cliff, he
would also know in his heart that "Finis Coronat Opus" - the end has crowned the work.