Degs back again.
Welcome to all the new contributors and thanks for comments and input. People are beginning to find the site. I cannot imagine the strength and courage it must have taken to post some of these, my heart goes out to you. My hope is that through this site some steps towards closure may be achieved. There are people who are listening to you on this site. Remember that you are not alone and through unity there is strength.
Reading some of the comments concerning harsh treatment by some of the priests I have come to the conclusion that it is not the severity of the act but the impact that the act had on the individual that counts.
My experiences with Cerea consisted of several harsh words and on a few occasions a backhander across the head or face. One occasion comes to mind. Cerea caught us mid-water fight down at the greenhouse, so he frog marched us around to the incinerator where we had to kneel down in the ashes in a line. I was at the front of the line and another big lad, Melvyn Thompson, was at the back. Between us two there must have been about six or seven other lads. As I remember, Melvyn was always a target for Ched, he was always the fall guy in the Latin class.
Ched began to berate us in his normal fashion, telling us how disappointed our parents would be, etc. But while he did this he walked back and forth. When he reached the front of the line he would slap me across the head and on reaching the back of the line he would slap Melvyn, with the boys in-between cowering but remaining untouched. I remember Ched made several trips up and down the line that day!!
Events like that did not have the same impact on me as similar events had on others. Was I thicker skinned or just thick? The point is that, as an adult, Ched should have been aware of the effect that his behaviour was having on individuals and moderate it accordingly. His teaching technique was quite primitive with only the academically bright lads achieving. I seem to remember that he did have a 100% pass rate in GCSE due to the fact that if you were not a sure bet you were persuaded to drop the subject, which by that time you were only too willing to do.
Once again my heart goes out to all the Mirfield boys who did not have the same shared experience of the majority and who had to suffer the darker side of Mirfield in isolation. I cannot begin to imagine what you have been through. My thoughts are with you and I hope in some small way that the fact that you can talk about it on the site will help.
As a foot note I was there when Ched lost control of one group of lads in the early seventies who managed to see through his diguise and expose a rather insecure little old man who broke down in tears incapable of relating to and molding these boys rather than beating them into submission.
All the best to everyone and once again feel free and feel safe to comment, criticise or simply walk down memory lane here on this blog.