Burngreave Messenger.
Issue 40 April 2004

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 anywhere.”


Arthur Ward.

Arthur and Pat enjoying their retirement ‘do’, attended by over 100 people, including four ex-head teachers.

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Index for Issue 39 March 2004.