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My Life in Detail

Last updated 3rd December 2015

My name is  Ray Duerden.

2017 - I've now been a fully qualified pensioner, (74 years young) for 9 years and live in Lytham St. Anne's in Lancashire, England.
I retired from the aerospace industry in 1998.
I'm married with 2 children. My hobbies are golf and genealogy. I'm afraid I'm not as enthusiastic as I used to be. Genealogy that is.

My wife Pat and I have been married for 53 years. We have one daughter, Andrea and one son, Neil.
Both flew the nest and are living with their respective partners, also in Lytham St. Anne's.

Andrea married Nathan Barrows in June 2004 and Neil married Niki Irvine in October, also 2004.

I was born in Wallasey, Cheshire in 1943.
I can't remember but I believe I went to Gorsey Lane Primary School. If anybody knows how to check this out, I'd appreciate it.
(Nobody has confirmed this, so maybe I didn't attend there at all)
I lived there until I was 5 years old when my parents, Violet and Alexander, moved to live with my grandad, Silvester, in a lovely country village called Edgworth, which is near Bolton in Lancashire.

I've been a naturalised Lancastrian ever since. My grandad lived in Barons Cottage which is now a beautiful renovated farmhouse. The last time I checked, it was owned by my first playmate's (James Ramwell) sister Marion (now deceased).
I visited the house with my uncle Graham (over from Australia) in August 2004. It was wonderful to see my first Lancashire home again.

I started school at the Edgworth Methodist Junior School (now a block of apartments). The kids there took the mickey out of my Scouse accent. I remember having to fight (and beat) the "Cock of the infants" (Douglas Innes), just to prove that I wasn't any "different" to them.
My mother told me that I lost the accent and started to talk broad Lancashire within 2 weeks of arriving there.

The Headmaster was Mr. Anderson, Infants teacher was Miss Knowles and Middleschool was Miss Horrocks

At 8 years old, we moved on, to live in a Council owned, prefabricated bungalow made from wood and asbestos sheeting in Bromley Cross, a little nearer Bolton but I still travelled to "The Meths".
My brother, Richard was born around this time.

I passed my "11 plus" (entrance examination) to both Bolton and Darwen Grammar schools but I talked my mum and dad into letting me go to the Technical College in Darwen.

I have now made a few contacts from school, all due to the photograph of my first year class published in the Photo Gallery
Kathleen Taylor and George Bibby reminded me who some of them are but Gordon Holden has nearly named them all.

Anybody else out there who could help me, please get in touch. I would love to here from you.
I did meet my old French teacher, Sally Wild in 2015 at the Edgworth Re-union. School Trivia

Point of interest here - Darwen Tower, real name The Jubilee Tower was built between 1897/8 and was opened 24th September 1898.

When I was 12, we moved back near Edgworth to live in the "Turton Conservative Club" (which is now a Rest Home). My mum was the Stewardess of the club. My dad worked at "Jellicoe's", the village garage. The club was a great place for me. I could practice football in the "Ballroom", snooker and darts in the games room/bar, crown green bowl, shoot (Starlings with an air-rifle), fly gliders off the roof. It was a youth,s paradise.

I think I was 13 when I started to play football for Turton & Edgworth Juniors. Our "pitch" was in the field behind my junior school. Our manager was a Mr. Dick Morris, a lovely man, who used to live in Crown Point. I remember he took a few of us to watch "Accrington Stanley" play when they were in the Football League. I never visited many Football League Grounds as a spectator.
My first team debut when I was about 15, was on a freezing cold day playing a team from Darwen. We played on Sett End, which was the highest playing fields around Darwen. I remember spending quite some time in the toilet block during the game because I'd been hit in the "you know where" with the ball. I was in absolute agony for about ten minutes.

I left school at 15. My dad was so annoyed that I'd talked my mum into signing the papers without him knowing.
He made me walk round the village trying to get a job. I was taken on as a "Casual Labourer" by Billy "Bricky" Knowles.
I remember, my first task was to stack a wagon-load of bricks outside a house that Billy was building for Jack Holden, then, the owner of the famous Ice Cream Shop. I was helping Brian Hart, another one of "Bricky's" helpers. At lunch-time I walked down to the garage to get a lift home with my dad. My hands were red-raw with handling the rough bricks. We had a quick bite and then rushed back to the garage, where my dad made me a pair of "mitts" out of an old car tyre inner tube which made handling the bricks much more pleasant.

People used to travel from miles away to sample the ice cream there. I couldn't pass without either getting a cornet or a block to take home.

I unfortunately got "laid off" (sacked) when the winter arrived after only 6 months.
While I was waiting for my application for a job at Metropolitan Vickers Ltd., (a very large engineering company based in Trafford Park, Manchester) to be accepted, my dad got me a job at the garage. I worked there for 6 months.
During that period, I was "sacked" again twice (my dad always got me re-instated). The first time was for crashing a van into a wagon when I was reversing it out of the garage. I can't remember the other occasion at the moment. Working with my dad was a great experience. He taught me a lot about "life", as well as the motor industry.

Again, after six months I was accepted into the "Training School" at "Metro Vick's".
I had to catch the 05:59 am. train from Turton Station, to Bolton and then catch a bus to get me to Trafford Park by 7-30 am.
A member of the Conservative Club, Mr. Kernick who helped get me the job, used to pick me up with his son John, and run me home.
Well, the trend didn't change. 6 months later, my maternal grandparents had died. My mum and dad had bought their house in Lytham so we moved again. That was in 1959. My dad had organised himself a job working at the Atomic Energy Factory at nearby Salwick. Now known as UKAEA.

I applied for a Draughtsman's position at what was then called English Electric (the company changed name many times and is now BAE Systems). Whilst I waited for a reply, the next Monday, I took a job as a welder (I'd been trained both by my dad and at Metro Vick's) at "A & Z Engineering", making car exhaust pipes. As there wasn't a welding set-up available, I was put on a fly machine, cutting the slots in the pipes. It was piecework and at a very good rate of pay and I really enjoyed it.
Friday morning, the boss put me on the welding benches. After about an hour, I was asked "how it was going" and I said that "I'd rather be back on the fly press". Well, he shot off to his office and within five minutes, my pay-packet and my cards were in my hand and I was shown the door. I was sacked again. That was four sackings in less than 18 months.
Luckily, I got the job at EE.
For the rest of that football season, I travelled back to Edgworth to play for the first team. At the end of season Presentation Dance, coincidentally at the Conservative Club, I was presented with an award for loyalty to Turton & Edgworth Amateur Football Club. It was the first trophy I ever received and it is still standing proudly in my house.

Even at EE, where I was excepted into the Flight Test Instrumentation Department (Ivor Stretch being the Boss), there was another turn of fate.
There wasn't a drawing board vacant so I was put in the "workshop" which was under the leadership of Charlie Firth. I can't remember the details but when I was asked to move to the Drawing Office, I liked it so much that I was allowed to stay there and train as an Instrument Maker.

Tony Barker (19 yrs old at the time) showed me the ropes and we became very good friends. In fact at the T & E AFC presentation I mentioned earlier, I took Tony on a blind date. My mum and dad took us from Lytham to Edgworth and we picked up my girlfriend Pat and her friend Carol Blinkhorn at the White Horse bus stop. I introduced Tony and Carol squashed in the back of the car. They obviously hit it off because they married and are still friends living just round the corner from us now.

In 1960 Lytham Corinthians Football Club manager Charlie Turner and the Chairman knocked on my door and talked me into signing for them. I only played for two seasons but the experience was great. I was lucky to be chosen to represent the Blackpool Amateur Football League during my first season. Unfortunately we lost 7-1 to an Eccles League side.

In 1962, Tony talked me into playing for the St. Annes YMCA and before I played any league games I was selected to play in the Tower Cup Final at Bloomfield Road (Blackpool FC's ground) which we won.

The other members of the Workshop were Stan Horrocks, an Electrician, Jack Hoyle, a Fitter and Ernie Cartmell, an Engraver. They had all seen the world and taught me a lot during my very happy years there.
Stan was a betting man and it wasn't long before he showed me how to bet on the Tote. It was a much shorter time before I realised it was a mugs game.
Jack had a dry sense of humour but generally he was a quiet meticulous worker who liked to keep himself to himself.
Ernie was a pipe smoker and used to clean it out and "dry and mix" his tobaccos every Friday afternoon without fail.
One day I decided to play a trick on him. I'd previously dried out some used tea-leaves and when he wasn't looking I loaded his pipe with it.
Well, it was one of the worst backfiring tricks I'd ever seen! It was very funny to see him draw on his pipe and then start coughing. Everyone who was in on it laughed. Unfortunately Ernie also was an Asthmatic and when the coughing turned into total breathlessness, we all panicked into trying to help him. It was weeks before he talked to us again.

Geoff Foxcroft joined us in the early 80's.

Tony, Geoff and I played for the St. Annes YMCA football teams for many years.

I decided I had to change my job, so still within the same department, I moved to the Calibration Laboratory. Cyril Jepson was in charge. I gained more experience and also the interest to work on the actual aircraft. So after a couple more years, I moved again to the Flight Trials section.

I worked on Jaguars and Tornados. Pete Walker, Geoff Bromley and Bill Harrison were my team leaders over the years.

Around 1986, I moved again to the Planning Office. Bert Campbell and Tony Creasey showed me the ropes. Estimating and Timekeeping were my main tasks and I mixed a lot with other departments.

Eventually moving to the Avionic Joint Team, which was developing the software for the Eurofighter Avionics System. The job involved travelling to Munich as well as the other partner companies in Spain, Italy and Germany.

I was offered a position, which was too good to turn down, within the Programmes and Planning Department at Eurofighter GmbH, the management agency for the European Fighter Aircraft, “Typhoon”.

So I left British Aerospace and Pat and I moved to Munich, Germany.

We arrived on the 8th of January 1991 and the 12th January we went for our first Skiing lesson. It wasn't a happy day, especially for Pat, who hated every minute. It was one of the hardest days I have ever had. That's saying something considering that the first football training session each year was always very tough.

I bought my first computer at the same time as I took an interest in my family tree. Little did I know that it would be my second main interest once I retired.
I became a member of the Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society and also a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies.

My first manager at Eurofighter, Dave Welton, introduced me to golf. I borrowed some clubs and the bug took hold. Just before I retired I bought a second hand set and started to go to the driving range and had lessons with Martin Watson (then, assistant Pro at Lytham Green Drive Golf Club) back in Lytham when I had chance.

We spent 7½ years there before I retired at 55 from Eurofighter 29th May 1998.

We flew back Sunday, played my first game Monday 1st June with Derek Hurst, Eric Boardman and Carol Nichols. By Thursday, I had played and put 3 cards in to get a handicap. Derek, who was on the council made sure that I had my handicap (13) so I could play in my first Saturday competition.

I've now been a member of Lytham Green Drive Golf Club for 17 years. Some years ago, I took on a new challenge as the Junior Organiser and was co-opted onto the council
12th June 2003: The day I achieved my original ambition which was to get my handicap down to single figures
12th July 2003: Won my first "Major". - The Presidents Prize
7th August 2003: Handicap down to 7.

26th June 2004: Andrea married Nathan Barrows.

11th Aug 2004: Met my "cousin 1st removed" Glynn and his wife Pam

23rd Oct 2004: Neil married Niki Irvine.

Jul 2005: Handicap 10 - going the wrong way !

Jul 2006: Back to 9 again

May 2007: Handicap 8 - Hurray !

July 2007: Knee seized up - Boo !

May 2008: Handicap 8 - Hurray! - Waiting for a new knee - Boo !

Jul 2008: Had a total knee replacement. I spent 5 days in Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Put an awful lot of effort in my re-hab and played my first competitive game of golf at Kirkby Lonsdale (with Harry Webster) on the 8th September 2008
Aug 2009: Bad year - Handicap 10. (must try harder)
September 2009: Climbed Ben Nevis (20th Sep) with my brother Rick, son Neil and son-in-law Nathan Took us three and a half hours to reach the top and 3 hours to reach the bottom again. We would have done it quicker, but Neil's' knees were troubling him (Softy ha, ha)

Oct 2010: Our Beautiful Grandchildren Ava and Freddie born - Thanks, Andrea and Nathan

Mar 2011: Became Captain of Lytham Green Drive Golf Club for 12 months

Mar 2012: I've been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (an erratic heart beat)
May 2012: Had cardioversion
Jul 2012: Had second cardioversion

Jan 2013: Had Gall Bladder removed
Jun 2013: Ablation operation then another Cardioversion

Nov 2014: Was emailed from Pam, the wife of another of my "cousins, 1st removed" Geoffrey Thomas Duerden Wilmore
Can't wait to find out more
Oh by the way, handicap 12 (must be getting old!)

Sep 2015: Won my second "Major" - The Police Competition.
Attended a "Village Re-union", at the Memorial Institute, Edgworth. A fantastic idea. I really enjoyed meeting my very good and now old of course, friends and school colleagues.
Hopefully the info gathered, I will add to the website in the near future.
Some of the people I met were, Sally Wild, a teacher from Darwen Tech. Brian Hart, my first workmate. Geoff Capper, my best friend when I left Edgworth

Oct 2015: Handicap now 10 - Not so old now eh?

May 2016: Still got it! Won "Mid-week Medal" competition with a score that reduced my handicap back down to 9.0

June 2016: After getting eratic heart beats again, I had yet another ablation.
This time, using video assistance (Bilateral Video Assisted Thoracoscopy, inclusive of left Atrium appendage pulmonary vein isolation). Which basically means going through both sides of the chest, collapsing the lungs etc., etc.

Till then, it's the beginning of the rest of my life

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