Published 26th January 1981.
Lessons held no interest for the young Ray Howard, but now, 28 years on he cannot wait to get back into the classroom. For Mr Howard, a Castle Point councillor, has been made chairman of governors at Canvey’s Long Road Junior and Infants School where he was a pupil from 1946-1953. When he was a 5 year old schoolboy, with short trousers and a flat cap, he never imagined he would willingly return to the building. He said: “I was rather a fidget and admit I didn’t like school very much. I used to try my hardest at the lessons but was far from the brightest lad”.
Coun Howard has been a governor at the school for 14 years. He was made chairman after the former chairman, Mr Bert Grout, retired after 10 years in the seat. It was a nostalgic moment when the headmaster, Paul Haisman-Baker, pulled out the yellowing photo album from the archives of 1946. In it Coun Howard saw himself as a four-and-a-half-year-old surrounded by his chums-some of whom died in the 1953 Canvey flood. He said: “It was a very emotional time for me to see all those old pictures because all the old memories of teachers and friends came back. It seems not so long ago since I was a pupils at the school. when I was a little lad, I never envisaged that I would be made chairman of the governors in the future. To tell you the truth, at the time, I just wanted to leave. But now I am proud to be part of it again”.
Gazing out of the classroom windows and looking round the room, Coun Howard admitted things had changed. He said:” I used to see rural fields and farms during my daydreams, but now industry has replaced all that. Times at school were a lot harder than they are now because there were just not the same facilities. I feel quite sentimental thinking about it”.