I was born in London in 1944 as the doodlebugs were dropping , but remember nothing of this. My parents, as did many others, moved out to the suburbs after the War. My Father set up business as a Grocer , first in Staines, and then in Ottershaw in 1949. The shop he bought (one of the units now occupied by the Indian restaurant) was most unusual in that it was half grocery and half haberdashery. Needless to say the haberdashery didn’t last too long in a small village, although we still have some of the remnants of the stock !!
In those days there were 6 grocers in Ottershaw and the shops were very much village meeting places. A chair was even provided to sit on! My memories are of the packing/weighing up of all sorts of produce, currants, lard, bacon, ham, etc…..loose biscuits…endless sizes of tins of processed peas. I had to unpack boxes of goods in the storeroom and put items first in the storeroom shelves, then onto the shop shelves….and then best of all burn the boxes in the yard at the back.
My sister and I went to both the village schools. My memories are not about the teaching, but about such things as the stoves to heat the school room (and also warm up the frozen milk in winter !) , the generally basic facilities, including the fact that one class at the Guildford Road school was held in the same hut that still stands to the right of the main school building. A teacher managed to put his foot through the floor then, and that was nearly 60 years ago! Still I must have learnt something because in my school year only 2 of us passed the then 11+ and had the privilege of going to a grammar school (Strode’s School)
I decided (or perhaps my Father persuaded me) to leave school early and become an articled clerk in the Accountancy world. A fantastic career choice, as I had a successful career as a Chartered Accountant. The auditing work that I did for the first 10 years gave me a great grounding into all sorts of businesses; Pubs, major High St Banks, Motor parts and furniture manufacturers, a Gold mine, Snowdon Mountain Railway, Solicitors, Political Parties etc. and to meet all sorts of people from the shop floor to the Directors.
My parents were both churchgoers and supported community activities, so I followed in their footsteps. I took up bellringing and quickly became Captain. Although bellringing is largely a secular activity it does remind everyone where the Church is, and is a national heritage in its own right. Apart from the ringing here, my claim to fame is that I’ve taught at least 4 other Tower Captains and one person who has rung over 3,000 peals!
Mary and I met at both Church and a local “Twenties” Club and married in 1969. Our children Jacqueline and Stephen and their families, including 6 grandchildren, are now one of the biggest parts of our lives. The fact that Jacqueline is a teacher (like Mary) and Stephen an Accountant (like me) probably says something about us !
Work-wise I eventually wanted something a bit more rewarding and joined a very small charity Age Concern England as Finance Director and then stayed 30+ years, as it grew to be a really large enterprise.
I had a deteriorating kidney condition for about 15 years before dialysis became necessary in 2010. Fantastically my sister offered me one of her kidneys and I had a kidney transplant in December 2010. What a wonderful gift, and I can only urge you all to at least make your organs available after you die, as there are so many people waiting (and dying) through lack of organs.
I have always believed we should use any skills we have more widely and still act as Treasurer for Christ Church several local charities and independent examiner for a few more. I’m also a fan of Dr Who (a great way of bonding with one grandson). In retirement there is also more time for watching (or sleeping) at cricket matches and photography.
How has Ottershaw changed ? Life is definitely more frenetic, but apart from the traffic Ottershaw is still a great place to live…..a good community spirit through its organisations and people(CAMEO is an example), and a good location, with town and country on the doorstep.
Roger Pashley, March 2012