Echoes of the past: Old Rastrickians’ Association Dinner 2017

Paul Whiteley, Rastrick Grammar School dinner speaker 2017
Paul Whiteley, Rastrick Grammar School dinner speaker 2017

With another year having gone by, it is almost time for the old boys of Rastrick Grammar School to meet for another annual Old Rastrickians’ Association dinner.

I am sure many of its members will be thinking just how quick they come round. Even after so many of these annual gatherings it is still an event they all look forward to.

This year’s event will no doubt have many of the usual ingredients ensuring it will be a great night. It will give the members of the association the opportunity to catch up with old school mates, share memories and no doubt a few well worn tall stories as well. This is a wonderful annual tradition and long may it continue.

The guest speaker for this years’ annual dinner is Paul Whiteley who retired in 2013. Born in 1947, Paul was brought up in Elland and attended local schools. In 1957 he left the comfort of his junior school to walk through the gates at Rastrick Grammar School to join the new intake of students. During the last year at his junior school, he was already beginning to show some skills as a young sportsman.

By 1957 he was already a member of the Elland Cricket Club, until he moved to Hertfordshire in 1966.

During his years at Rastrick Grammar School many of his achievements came in the sporting arena. This included breaking several athletic sprinting records, being a member of the football First Xl from the age of fifteen. With one of his most memorable games being when he scored six out of seven goals playing against Carlton Grammar School, a great day for Paul and his Rastrick team mates.

Few people have the opportunity, or luck as Paul says, of combining their full time work with their hobbies and part time employment. Through his sporting back ground this has given him a wonderful work life balance.

Paul left Rastrick Grammar School in 1964 to begin work in local government in both Huddersfield and Halifax. When he moved to Hertfordshire he worked in sales and then for the Beecham Group and in 1979 he left the company as the National Accounts Manager. He returned north to work for the Trimco Ford Motor Company as marketing manager.

A move to the Greetland company Vileda saw him once again back in the role as a National Accounts Manager. After six years he was on the move again, this time to Moulinex Swan the Birmingham based cookware manufacturer where he was back in sales as the North of England Manager. His final post was with Loomis UK Ltd in Nottingham as the National Accounts Executive in 1993 and in 2013 he retired.

Sport has played an important and big part of his life. From his younger days as a member of the Rastrick Under 16 Xl and a playing member for Elland United. He went on to be a qualified referee and was involved in over 700 games finishing in 1979 on Isthmian League (a regional men’s football league covering London, East and South East England featuring mostly semi-professional clubs).

Having left Elland Cricket Club in 1966, he rejoined in 1980 and was with the club until 1991. When he moved to and became a member at Scholes (Holmfirth) CC and in 1999 was made a life member.

Once his playing days were over he moved into the administrative side of the game. Including being appointed the PR and media officer for the Spenser Wilson Halifax Cricket League in 2014. This also included being the editor of the league’s Yearbook.

Through his experience in both sales and marketing, taking up the challenge of being a freelance sports reporter was not as daunting as it might seem. This involved working with not only local radio but with Sky TV as well.

His most recent challenge is at Huddersfield Town AFC where he is the match-day press conference organiser.

I have a feeling that after his retirement from his full time employment in 2013, rather than thinking, ‘what am I going to do with all those free hours now?’. He will feel that he is now busier than ever.

This year’s annual event is being held at the Auctioneer Restaurant on Friday March 3rd 2017, 7pm for 7.30pm. Former students of the Rastrick Grammar School who wish to attend are asked to contact John Howarth on e-mail: oldrastrickians@yahoo.co.uk or on 07835 235195.

John says, “It would be good to see any of the 1957 to 1964 contemporaries of guest speaker Paul Whiteley by joining the association members on the night. As every year the event is open to former students of Rastrick Grammar School from all eras”.