Mirfield Memories

Hi, to those who know me I’m Degs to those who don’t I’m Kevin Deignan, ex seminarian old boy of Mirfield junior seminary. Having attended several reunions in the past I feel that it is time that I begin to put some thoughts and memories down in writing. These can be added to, criticised, commented on and if need be corrected, but hopefully enjoyed.

What I am hoping to achieve from this blog is to find out why our experiences at Mirfield created such a unique bond  that year after year people who have not met for several decades  come from the four corners of the UK, and even further afield, to reminisce and catch up. I am especially interested in people’s experiences from outside my year group and the experiences of those who were there at the last gasps of Mirfield.

I was recruited from St Patrick’s Parish in Felling, Gateshead in 1966/67. The promise of endless games of football, Duke of Edinburgh award schemes and a display of shields and spears persuaded me that this would be a good life choice. On receiving the vast list of things that I should be supplied with including: 12 pairs of underpants, several pairs of socks, sheets, pillow cases, plimsolls, football boots, scores of handkerchiefs etc. my Mother dispatched me with a least half the required amount!

My years at Mirfield were the transitional years from strict dress code and crocodile lines up to Hearts head post office and Robertstown shops where we were made to stand outside and enter two at a time to spend our weekly allowance to disappearing to Bradford ice rink on a Saturday night or hitch hiking to Bolton Abbey for the weekend. For those of us who occupied Mirfield at this time we will remember what a weird and wonderful, if sometimes slightly scary, experience this was. Academia was not my strong point and my 3 O’Levels of English, Biology and of course Religious Knowledge will testify to this. However, the life skills that I acquired whilst there have stood me in good stead. The teaching methods at times could be unorthodox but were always entertaining, who could forget Rory Hicks burning the skin off the palms of his hands whilst demonstrating that phosphorus will burn in oxygen, which is a chemical change and not a physical change! (Phosphorus once burnt forms phosphorus oxide). Mirfield made Hogwarts look quite tame if I think back at some of the things we used to get up to. It would be nice to hear from any ex old boys to share our tales of Mirfield. P.S. the film and book rights belong to me.

4 responses to “Mirfield Memories

  1. I’ll never forget being tied to a tree after being ambushed on the cross country run, and having horse muck thrown at me.. great cameraderie

  2. Hi Tony thanks for the comment .I do remember you, one of the Bradford boys , in with Donovan, Simon and Chris Tingle ect.The very fact that I can put your name to a face of over 40yrs ago is a feat in its self.If I was involved in the incIdent, which Ihope I was not, I sincerely apologise.
    I think all of us at some stage became the butt of some jokes which could hurt and isolate.I would like to think that this was only temporary. hope that you can flag up some good memories or at least throw some of your own horse shit back.
    Once again Tony if I had any part in this my humblest aologies .I look forward to seeing a post from you in the future perhaps??

    all the best Degs

    • Hi Degs,
      Don’t beat yourself up. I was responsible for bullying a couple of people, although I didn’t see it that way at the time, who does? I should like to make my own set of apologies to people, most of whose names I can’t recall. I remember you as a decent bloke with a great sense of humour, and as a great story teller especially in later years, when I was in the fifth year and you came back to visit.
      There comes a point when we have to let go of all this stuff. I had bad experiences at Mirfield but not the worst by any means. I have a good life, with my own small family out in British Columbia, working as a mediator and family justice counsellor.
      In retrospect the upside of being away from home and mixing with so many strangers was that it gave me, I hope, more of a willingness to try and understand life from other peoples’ point of view, and maybe some resillience in dealing with the bumps and bruises that come along.

  3. Nice to hear from you again your comment has only just reached me ,2 november You seem to have had quite an interesting and fulfilling life so far .It must have been some set of circumstances to get you from Yorkshire to Columbia.

    Hope that you will continue to follow the blog and contribute .All the best to you and your family Perhaps one day we may venture out to Columbia and meet up.

    will post more when I get the time Degs

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