Chailey Heritage School Old Scholars Association
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I was sent to Chailey in 1944 when I was 13 following an accident in which I lost my right hand. I don't remember feeling sorry for myself as there were other boys worse off than me. At least I could run about. We were housed at St George's and walked down the common to the workshops at the school. I was to be taught wood turning and carpentry. Looking back this gave me the grounding and discipline which have steered me through life - always to overcome difficulties and respect for other people. (In my younger days always saying 'Sir;' to my elders) but now I'm 79. One incident I remember was when we were served macaroni cheese at lunchtime and we didn't eat it (it tasted awful) and we were made to sit in the Dining Hall at St George's until teatime. When I left Chailey I went to work for a caravan company making and fitting the wooden frames and inside fittings. I continued in carpentry until 1976 when my left arm was showing too many signs of wear. So I was sent on a Government Training Course to become a Domestic Appliance Engineer, mending washing machines, tumble driers, cookers, etc. and I worked for Comet up until 1992 when I was made redundant. However, I was taken on by a new employer and worked on till I retired at 65 in 1996. In my private life I married and we had three children. I learnt to drive a car and ride a motor bike and in 1981 I took up Scuba Diving with Eastleigh Dive Club and over 20 years I have had many holidays diving abroad and also a week at Scapa Flow and weekend diving in the English Channel. I now look forward to spending time with the family and grandchildren and I still get to mend a few washing machines!! James/Jim/Jimmy Butler
James Butler Memories