Richard Oliff: Corby Boys’ School trips memories


Many years ago, back through the mists of time...

The odd Corby Boys’ School trip would hit the agenda of my non-existent school curriculum.

It’s probably unkind to suggest that teachers in the 1960s had no real direction, it just seemed that way to those of us who were being taught: or not, as the case may be.

One such trip was the annual jaunt down the motorway, including the obligatory “comfort” break, on a smelly diesel coach filled with my contemporaries all headed for the legendary Wembley Empire Stadium.

Those coaches were a real treat. I always remember the ashtrays that would still give off the odious stench from a previous night’s spree: indeed, our coach driver would have been allowed to smoke en route.

Mind you, at least he wouldn’t be distracted by a sat-nav or mobile phone.

We were on our way to watch the schoolboy international football match between England and West Germany (as it was then).

This was an event held each year by the English Schools Football association, and I loved every minute of it.

The one I remember most though was our trip on April 27, 1968: not so much for the football, but for the memory of our loo stop in St Albans.

You see, it wasn’t so much of a short break but more of a visiting opportunity, as several of us were shown around the magnificent interior – and exterior – of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans.

What a day I must have had. My love of watching international football mixed with another passion of mine: British history.

Today, whenever I see the abbey in the distance I’m not only reminded of its grandeur and significance but also of my amazement at the skills required to put the whole thing together on what is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain.