John White writes…

Memories of some of the teaching staff are sometimes on point and sometimes blurred. Mr “Jack” Gleason was a good Geordie lad who managed to strike a very good rapport with a good many of my class mates. A bit of a laugh was normally always present about the weekend football clubs – of course he was a Magpie but we were always very sympathetic and never held that against him! I remember with crystal clarity the day that he handed back our English homework always accompanied by a remark or quip that gave the pupil a “flavour” of his opinion on their previous night’s scribing efforts. Calling out pupil by pupil, you went to collect your submission and always I will remember his comment on mine. “White – never uses 6 words where 12 will suffice!” Absolute class – and in all truth, he was smack on the mark – as is STILL evident in any composition of mine!! I remember too father and daughter Eaton – our Maths teachers with a fair amount of affection, particularly for “Pop”. I well remember one morning maths period with him which just happened to be the Monday morning following St. Pat’s Day that weekend. As I am descended from Irish immigrants, I attempted to lighten the opening minutes (and of course keep him away from the tedious geometry! he was going to deliver!) by asking him whether he had enjoyed a Happy St.Pat’s day. His reply was a gem and I still see him delivering his response which was “NO I did not”. So I followed up immediately with “An Irishman who didn’t enjoy St. Pat’s day sir how’s that?” Quick as a flash, his reply which I can hear even now, was “I never enjoy meself when I’m unconscious!” Superb!!

John’s life now

Left Xavs in 1962 – high spot of that year prior to my leaving was winning the Lancashire Schoolboy’s welterweight Championship under the tutelage of Mr.Gerry Dewhurst.

That year was great for Xavs and for Gerry as we managed to secure five Lancashire champions. From memory these were me (junior welter), Phil Crewdson (senior welter as he was 9 months older than me), Paul Neary (lightweight), and then a distant cousin of mine Freddie Morrow (featherweight) and finally there was a fifth and for the life of me I can’t trawl his name up. Gerry was over the moon because I think this was the 1st time Xavs had entered ANY boxers.

I joined the GPO as a counter clerk and worked in many Branch Offices across Manchester from as far apart as Wythenshawe (3 offices) down to City centre Head Office and across to Brooks’s Bar and Chorlton. Loved that job – great experiences in some great communities – special mentions for both Brooks’s Bar and Hall Lane Wythenshawe.

Met my wife Jo and we married in 1966, we have 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. We moved from Manchester to Macclesfield in 1967 and I started working for ICI Pharmaceuticals Division now of course morphed via Zeneca into AstraZeneca. Began as a shift process operator Bulk Chemical Manufacturing and some 4 years later, was promoted to Shift manager. I moved across to the “clean” side of the site some 6 years later to manage Tablet Granulation/Coating Area and then took operational responsibilities for managing all Tablet Packing activities – loved that job and was fortunate enough to have some really fantastic operational staff working for me.

Then big shake-up aand after due consideration I took the early retirement package in 1995 and set up my own consultancy for preparing clients for MHRA /FDA inspection. That took me to contracting in various locations as far apart as Ireland, Belgium, France, Romania and many other parts at home wherever England’s pharma sites were located.Come Covid all precautions and limitations in force saw a massive collapse and so I closed my consultancy and called it a day.

1 thought on “John White writes…”

  1. Hi John, I enjoyed reading your very interesting post. It brought back a lot of memories including how the success of Gerry Dewhurst’s boxing team, not least yourgoodself, gave us all a lift especially as none of our rival schools, St Bede’s at al, could match it. Was the surname of the fifth lad, Neri, whose parent[s] was/were Italian [and not to be confused with Paul Neary]?

    Regarding Mr Gleason: I remember the amusing essays he used to set for us. One was ‘The Influence of Henry VIII on the Potato Crisp Industry in England’. You will remember that this alluded to the fact that one of the most popular brands of crisps in the 1960s was Tudor crisps the packets of which bore the image of King Henry VIII !

    Until the early 1960s I lived in Chorlton and remember you on the desk at Chorlton Post Office. In fact you may recall that I joined you, Anthony Ford [ex Xavs] and others for a pint one evening in Chorlton, I think at The Horse and Jockey in Chorltonville, though I can’t be sure it was that pub. Best wishes.


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