Pete was born in Diss, Norfolk on 26th May, 1939. He tells us his reason for finding himself in a Fegans Home, was his single parent, father. In 1945 he went to Yardley Gobian and in 1950 moved to Stony Stratford for a further five years. He is unaware if he has any other siblings either. He has many memories of his ten years at Fegans; a complete mixture of good and bad.
‘Stocking stitching’ must have been the smelliest job at Fegans…. Pete remembers doing this job on a Monday, after school. He had to sew MANY pairs of socks together at the opening, ready for washing. Why was this a smelly job? Apparently each pair of socks had been worn by the boys for the past seven days. “They ponged strongly” says Pete. I will stop elaborating here; I think enough’s been said!
He does remember the food being good and well prepared. I suppose for boys, that’s the main consideration for happiness; so long as the tummy is full, the boy is happy!
Pete was the leader of the P.T. display team for a couple of years. He recalls many sports being compulsory; football, cricket, cross country, running, swimming, hockey and athletics.
Pete has some fond memories of some of the staff at Stony Stratford. Captain Flood (and Mum Flood) the Captain was a great chap, very strict, but he had to be says Pete. He remembers getting caught, rather than sinning – often! Mr Coultas was a strict man, who showed no mercy. House Masters Derek Fullerton, Bob Allen and Mr Somersall are also vivid in his memory. Peter says he didn’t know any names of the ladies behind the scenes, but he remembers them fondly.
Trips to Whipsnade Zoo, Wicksteed Park and Westminster Hall for the Annual Display stand out as being enjoyable days out from Stony.
Pete was Boiler ‘boy’ for his last two years at Fegans. He helped out with keeping hot water and heating running in the home. Proudly, he remembers being one of the ‘senior’ boys in his last year.
His most daring escapade was climbing onto the chapel roof at night, before the steeple was taken down. He remembers seeing the names of those that had completed this feat, scratched into the lead work!
He admits to not being a good scholar, and being illiterate….. Maybe that’s a bit harsh on yourself Pete! He was proud of his practical abilities and says he always got good marks here.
When Pete left Fegans, he became an apprentice French Polisher. Five years later, he was called up and joined the RAF. He worked as a medical orderly, a medical secretary and an Air Ambulance Attendant. After twenty-three years in the RAF, he became a self-employed furniture restorer and retired in 2004.
“I married a fantastic Spanish girl – Ana Antonie Rubio, in the cathedral in Gibraltar on 22nd June, 1963, BUT, Ana passed away on 17th September 2015 after 52 years and 2.5 months together. We had two sons, Paul John Anthony, DoB 11.10.1964 and Mark Antonia, DoB 26.6.1966″.
Peter continues to reside in Malaga, Spain.
Peter John Gipson