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Sir Thomas Boteler School

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Schoolexchange Hilden - Warrington
from Festschrift: Wilhelm-Fabry-Realschule Hilden 1955 - 1978
by Mr. Jack Phenix

In May / June of this year (1977) Miss Coyle, myself, and 20 boys of the Boteler Grammar School, Warrington, came to the Wilhelm-Fabry-Realschule to complete the latest exchange undertaken by our two schools. Looking back from the beginning of a new school year, it all seems a long time ago, but the memories are fresh and the pleasure real.

What you remember is not so much the places visited as the people you met and got to know better. For me personally it is agreat pleasure to come back to Hilden to meet friends and colleagues, and the boys I got to know in England. By now I know each one by name and know something of his character and personality.

This time it was pleasing to see some involvement of the parents in Hilden, and we have pleasant memories of the activities they helped arrange.
I remember well the afternoon spent at Frau Neumann's (although I must admit that the English boys understood little of what the Police Chief said). This did not stop them enjoying all the good food and drink provided.
We remember, too, the evening at the camp fire with the handicapped. To see the obvious love and dedication of the helpers and the genuine joy and gratitude in the handicapped people's faces was very moving; barriers of language were easy to surmount.

Miss Coyle and Mr. Phenix Something new, or nearly new, was the presence of girls at the Fabry-Schule! They had been there last time, but had been very young and only in Class 5. Now they were much older, old enough to be attracted by our boys and to be attractive to them.
At times I found myself acting as ''go-between'', helping to make arrangement for our boys to attend parties, and I became aware of intense rivalries between groups of girl.

There were complaints, too, (not very serious ones) from German colleagues that the presence of the English boys in school was distracting the girls from their work.
I always look forward to teaching some English in Hilden and it was, for me, a new experience to have girls in front of me, some of them looking much older than I had expected.

As the exchanges have developed and we have all got to know each other better, there have been fewer and fewer difficulties. In the early days of our exchanges a telephone ringing usually heralded something unpleasant. This time it usually meant a parent was ringing up to find out how to make a telephone call to Warrington.
The trip was not uneventful - over the first week-end Simon Clare chipped a bone in his finger, and then in the second week Mark Adams had his accident which put him into hospital for the rest of his stay.

I think he enjoyed his stay here quite a lot. He had lots of visitors - and not only English boys! He added many medical expressions to his German vocabulary, and so did I.
We are all very grateful to the Axmann family for all the kindness they showed and to Herr Eckerth and his staff, the Staff at the St. Joseph Clinic, and the many others who were helpful. When Mark reported to hospital here in England lt seemed as if he might have to undergo an operation, but I am pleased to report that this is not necessary and that he is making a good recovery.
My f irst concern was, of course, the well-being of my pupil, but I was also concerned as to how the bill for his medical treatment would be pald. I was right to be concerned, for lt has caused me a great deal of trouble and is not yet completely settled.

Because of Mark's plaster, we left Düsseldorf by an earlier train than planned, thinking we could travel through to Ostende without changing trains. How wrong we were.When the train came into Düsseldorf station, every compartment was full and we were pushed in anywhere.
Most of us ended up in a sleeping car where the attendants were cleaning up. They were most rude, refused to allow us into any compartment and insisted that we get out in Cologne and move into another part of the train.
This was not going through to Ostende and we were supposed to move into yet another section in Aachen, but this section was detached and moved to another platform before we had time to get into lt.

We ended up travelling from Aachen to Ostende by the train we had planned, but they had forgotten to reserve our seats! In spite of this we reached home about 4 o'clock on Sunday morning, very tired, very happy and much impressed by our view of Germany.

Let us hope that this is not the end of this particular exchange. Keep on exchanging letters, come to England again and bring your parents, too.

The Warrington group in 1977

The first group in 1966 ?

Visit in Burg 1969

Visit in Schloss Burg 1969

Who can give us any name ?

Stand: 26.06.2005