Former Portadown woman Wendy Breckon (nee Wooton) has written an article for the paper in a bid to track down former schoolmates from Portadown College.
‘As a freelance writer, scribbling away in the sunshine, I am preoccupied with working on the latest short story and article. Nostalgic thoughts of my Ulster childhood are never far away.
Memories of leaving Northern Ireland in September 1968 with my parents, remain very poignant. Watching the glimmering lights of Belfast Harbour disappear, it was sad to say goodbye to my close relatives and friends from Portadown College.
Born in Banbridge, I grew up in Scarva, eventually moving to Portadown and living in Ridgeway Park North, in the late 1950s/60s. Here, we played hopscotch and created little plays. Once, with an eye to a possible theatrical future, a group of us charged people to come and watch. My father was quite horrified and made me take the money back.
I remember waving to the Queen Mother one day when I was eight during her visit to the province. We jumped up and down on the hot, sticky pavement outside Church Street Primary School, shaking our Union Jacks, as the limousine shimmered in the sun. At Portadown College, who could forget the day when Mary Peters showed us her silver medal from the Commonwealth Games, on the school assembly stage. Here, the wonderful Mr Woodhouse proudly looked on as she told all of us to ‘aim high, work hard and we would be able to achieve anything’. At that moment, thanks to Mary, I knew that one day I would become a writer.
Recently, I retired from my position as a Head of Drama at a secondary school in Hertfordshire, moving down with my husband Pete to the South West, to concentrate on putting pen to paper. I write for www.frostmagazine.com and often enter story slams where I get to write and perform my own work. I adore writing short stories and am currently putting together a collection of memories for an autobiography, ‘Memories of an Ulster Childhood’.
My visits to Northern Ireland are frequent. I have lots of cousins and two special aunts in County Down. One of my sons, Sam, lives near Dublin with his wife Lorraine and our little grandson Finn. Our youngest son, Oliver, works in London and is a features producer for Good Morning Britain (ITV).
Friends who knew me well at Portadown College who I’d love to get in touch with now were; Susan Hawthorn; Jennifer Maginnis; Elizabeth Patterson; Barbara Mayes; Stella Freeburn; Susan Irwin and Sandra Hill. So, in case you are reading this article and want to get in touch my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I often visit NI and would love to meet up. There will be lots to reminisce about.’