But just how good am I?
At Linton, if you were good at a particular sport, it was always difficult to know just how good you were.
If you look at the class lists for 1980 there were only 24 Year 5 & 6 pupils so it was quite easy to be top dog in any sport.
In any secondary school in Bradford, at the same time, you would have had to be top dog over 200+ pupils.
So how did I know I had the best?
For me it was by taking you out of your comfort zone & competing against the groups of pupils you were taken away from.
Throughout my teaching career, always in Special Schools, I have tried to encourage pupils to also compete against those, who were not lucky enough to attend, the school I was working in.
Linton pupils did it in the local fell races they took part in.
Linton pupils did it when playing against the local football teams and so it goes
Whilst at Linton I played for Upper Wharfedale and so I encouraged Linton pupils to play for their youth teams on a Sunday.
Philip Rieney, Michael Coffey & Philip Baines are three players that brought great strength to the Wharfedale teams at that time & I am sure there were others whose names elude me.
Once again they were helped & guided by a good friend of Linton - this time Roger Tiffany.
Michael went onto play for Bradford Salem when he left Linton & later on, his son.
One year in 1976/77 I was given a gift, a girl that was so strong for her age, I knew I had something very special.
That girl was Karen Bernard – no relation to Mr. Barnard.
How could I show her that she was something special, the best?
This time it was by going outside all our comfort zones & doing what the best schools in Bradford do every year - compete in the Bradford Schools Field & Track Athletics Association Middle Schools Championships.
Quite simply, the Best of the Best.
Once the weather turned warm and we could mark out some form of athletics track we put together our athletics team – this time coming from the younger pupils, & practiced & practiced & practiced.
I’m sorry but only two names come to mind from the time and that is Karen & Peter Townsend.
At school & PE College I was a sprinter & high hurdler & Peter shared those talents.
Whilst Karen practiced her newly acquired shot putting techniques on the square, Peter tried to master the high hurdles, practicing over Lakeland laundry baskets, the nearest we had to hurdles.
Second best facilities, I suppose so, as one of our competitors, Bradford Grammar School, had purpose built shot put circles & an eight lane athletics track, complete with real hurdles.
I was really proud of how well we competed on the day and remember how shocked the regular winners were at our performances, it was against all the odds.
None more so, than in the Shot Put competition, then called ‘Weight’.
(See the right hand column of the results sheet)
J. Berry of Wycliffe had won the last couple of years & was expected to do so again.
Not this time.
Whatever distance she could throw, Karen could do better.
As the rounds went on Karen threw even further & eventually became Bradford’s Middle School’s Shot Put Champion for 1977.
By the time she was to defend her title she had left Linton, as we all did one day.
For me it was to spend the rest of my teaching career teaching ‘very special children’ Not quite like those I had taught at Linton.
As, for me, nothing was ever as special as the time I worked at Linton.
How did it end for me? Well here is my last Red Nose Day before I retired.