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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If there's one thing I wasn't expecting when I kissed Amelie goodnight, threw Shimmy out of her bedroom, and turned on the kitchen radio half an hour ago, it was to hear my old school mentioned on the 7 o'clock news.

Apparently a 12-year-old girl died this afternoon after being hit by a rugby ball during a P.E. lesson at Woodlands School in Basildon. Which happens to be my old, and much loved, seat of learning. I'm even listed as a 'notable alumnus' on their Wikipedia page, which quite honestly is just weird. Especially as I didn't put it there.

When I was at Woodlands, they used to let us go down the local snooker hall once a week, instead of getting sweaty on the sports field, which definitely worked for me, and made me the man I am today. Fat and unfit. But quite good at snooker. Things have clearly changed since then though, and with catastrophic results.

I don't quite know how you get over the shock of losing a daughter in a school P.E. lesson, so my heart goes out to the parents. Sadder still is that they'll probably have a major investigation, which will result in new health & safety rules banning any kind of ball games on school property. And that would be a shame. One thing I loved about Woodlands was the vast expanse of playing fields, and variety of sports on offer. Not that I wanted to do most of them, but I appreciated the fact they were there. I spent many happy hours on that rugby pitch, writing articles for the VIth Form Magazine between classes.

So it's a terrible thing to have happened, and the family have my utmost sympathy. In fact my jaw dropped when I heard the news. But oddly, I found something else just as startling. It transpires that the headmaster at Woodlands hasn't changed since I left there twenty-one years ago. The chap leading the tributes on the national news this evening is the same man who stumped up 20p for a copy of my first magazine in 1990. It's a miracle how little we've both moved on.


A Passer-by said...

So if you didn't write the impressive piece about a certain notable alumnus on the Woodlands School Wikipedia page, who did?

Phil's Mum said...

Between you, you and Andy White turned that school around.  No wonder he has listed you as a notable alumnus.  VERY sad to hear the news today though.

Phil said...

I don't know! Presumably a Poddington Peas fan. They've been stalking me across Wikipedia for years.