Eight Feet Tall by Stephen Bechervaise, Old Hallifordian (1964-1969)
Have you ever met anyone who is eight feet tall?
I most certainly have! I remember the event very well. It was 1964, and I hadn’t long started at Halliford School as a first year student (that’s Year 7 in today’s language) and had found myself in the very dark narrow corridor which led to the Prefects Room, situated deep within the Main House opposite the front of the then gymnasium-cum-hall.
Whether I had been summoned to this forbidding place or whether sheer curiosity had led me there, I cannot recall, but what I can remember with incredible clarity were the Prefects who towered above me – they were eight feet tall! At least!!
I became a Prefect myself in late 1968 as a Fifth Former (now Year 11) when the Prefects Room was in exactly the same location! Thankfully, eight-foot-tall fellow Prefects were no longer a threat, and I felt incredibly proud to hold the office until I left the school in July 1969, shortly after the Prefects Room had been moved to a somewhat less foreboding location within the Main House.
The encounter detailed above is my earliest recollection of my five very happy years at Halliford School (provision then was for 11-16 year-olds only.) My mind is brimming with others, too numerous to mention them all, but allow me to put to paper just a few other memories which I hope will be of interest to current students (and their parents) at the school and, of course, my fellow Old Hallifordians.
Mr Warren (nicknamed Bunny!) was our PE teacher, and he helped me excel in various sports, including gymnastics and athletics. I vividly recall gymnastics displays (dressed in white) at summer fetes and always coming second in the 440 yards race at sports days.
Allow me one final recollection. Periods and breaks were marked by the sound of a bell, the switch for which was located just inside the main door to the Main House. One of the duties of the Prefects was to leave lessons in good time to ring this bell. I relished that responsibility!
I cannot complete this piece without acknowledging the personal sacrifices of my late parents, who dug very deep to send me to Halliford School. I shall be forever grateful to them for allowing and enabling me to study there for five very happy years. A Levels were not catered for while I was at the school, so, following the GCE’s I gained at Halliford, I finished my secondary education at nearby Hampton Grammar School.
The years 1964 to 1969 were very happy years for me as a child, and this was in no small part due to the outstanding education and care I received at Halliford School. I wish you all well in this centenary year, and I, for one, am extremely proud and thankful to have been part of such an outstanding school.