Arthur gets a lie in
by Richard Belbin
After serving the children and parents
and staff of Byron Wood School for the last 22 years, Caretaker
Arthur Ward is finally getting a lie in in the morning, as
he and his wife Pat, a cleaner at the school, are retiring.
Arthur was born on Pye Bank and has lived in
Pitsmoor for most of his life. He was schoolmates with Peter
Stringfellow, only moving to the Manor when his home was demolished.
He worked at Firth Brown as a Maintenance Engineer, until
he was made redundant in 1982. Arthur then became the Assistant
Caretaker for the princely sum of £61 a week –
“A lot better than the £61 a fortnight I was getting
off unemployment though…”
“It’s been a great job,” says
Arthur, “It’s a wonderful community to work in.
Working-class kids are always great to get on with –
showing them a bit of respect achieves a hell of a lot, and
gets respect back. There’s nothing wrong with this area.”
Arthur helped at dozens of clubs around Pitsmoor.
“The Sunshine Club, the Afro-Caribbean
Club Drop-in Centre, Ellesmere Adult Education classes and
Buckingham Street dog training clubs. I used to do four different
schools some weeks. That would keep me busy.
“I’ll miss it all –
well maybe not the five o’clock starts – but the
rest of it, definitely. You can’t beat these kids, this
area. The teachers and support workers are a great team. There’ll
be better times for Byron Wood yet.
“We’re going to be setting
up our new home at first. The job came with accommodation,
so we’ll be moving into a new council house, still in
the area. We’ve got a caravan at Cleethorpes, and are
looking forward to spending more time there.
“I’ll still keep up
with what’s going on here. My daughter Sharon has been
a Nursery Teacher here for 19 years, and isn’t going