brother alcockBorn at ‘deaths door’ maybe , his father was a cemetery superintendent, Peter Alcock is obviously a man in robust health if his post retirement activities, interests and enthusiasms are anything to go by. The old cliché ‘I don’t know how I found the time to go to work’ certainly holds true in Peter’s case with many public positions and involvement in programmes of all kinds taking up most of his time.

Peter first saw the light of day in Crosby in November 1946, one of seven siblings. Due to the problems in education just after the war he did not begin formal schooling until he reached the age of six and by that time the family had moved to West Derby where is father was the superintendent of Yew Tree Cemetery.

He attended St.Dominic’s Primary School before transfering to what was then St.Dominics Secondary Modern where Brother John Scott was one of his teachers.

“I failed the 11+ “, he said, ” and my first assembly at secondary school was not the most of confidence building. We were told in no uncertain terms by the headmaster that we were at his school because we were all failures. I confess I did lack confidence although I was determined that such a put down was not going to hold me back.”

Keen on athletics he was Liverpool Catholic Schools champion at 800 metres and Huyton Schools chamion at both the 400 and 800 metres. Peter also played football for Huyton and Prescot boys.

“I excelled at sport and I think it was from that where I gained in confidence as the years went by after that early ‘put down’ .”

Peter progressed through the school and went into the 5th form where he became head boy. By coincidence his future wife Marian was head girl!

“We knew each other well of course but that was all it was until we met up about three years later and the rest as they say is history. We have three daughters Julie, Christine and Irene now grown up and they have children of their own making three grandchildren.”

Although he had trials with the likes of Everton, Aston Villa and Manchester City he soon realised that he was not going to make the grade and decided to switch to refereeing, starting in the CYMS league and progressing through to the National Conference, one step below the football league, and remained on the panel for 23 years.

At the same time Peter went to work for a hard wood flooring contractor where he worked his way up to the post of Contract Supervisor. In 1969 he joined United Bisuits as a supervisor in the accounts department and after moving through several departments was promoted to Human Resources manager where he remained for 20 years before retirement in 2003

Due in part to his late start in education and his experiences as an 11+ ‘failure’ Peter decided that he must help to improve the educational lot of children especially those from the most disadvantaged homes.

He is Chairman of Governors at St.Mary’s Primary School Blackbrook and was Chairman of Governors at St. Augustines High School also in Blackbrook for 12 years until asked by the archdiocese to become Chairman of Governors at Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Liverpool. This was the predecessor school to The Academy of St. Francis of Assisi in Kensington where Peter has been a Director and Chairman of Governors since its opening in 2005. He is also Vice-Chairman of Carmel College one of the top state 6th form colleges in the country.

“I never had what today would be called a ‘proper’ education, there were 68 in my primary school class, and I did not want that for today’s kids,” he said. “So being involved in education at this level I hope that I am in some way contributing to a system that is looking to benefit all children from whatever background.”

As to his current role as Chairman of Governors at St.Francis of Assisi he continued.

“Our Lady’s was a failing school and the archdiocese wanted to rebuild it but this was turned down by the governemnt. Fortuitously it appeared that the Liverpool Anglican Diocese also wanted to build a secondary school in that area so it was agreed that we should put in a joint bid which was successful. For me Christians coming together like this is the way forward in education.”

If that was not enough to fill the time Peter is also a magistrate serving on both the Youth and Adult Benches, again motivated by the same desire to give a helping hand for those less fortunate.

Both he and Marion are keen Liverpool supporters and hold season tickets, rarely missing a game. He is also a Saints fan and one of his hobbies is collecting football programmes.

Away from education and sport both he and Marion love music and are frequent opera and theatre goers. He is in addition a Eucharistic Minister and a Lay Minister licenced to take funerals.

Peter joined the Catenians in 2004 and enjoys the fellowship and camaraderie all part of his genuine interest in people. However he believes that the association needs to move with the times and modernise otherwise in his view it will ossify and eventually die.

“We belong to a great and caring organisation but we are in the 21st centuary and must move with the times and take up the new challenges which today’s society throws at us.”

Geoff Lightfoot

 

 

 

 


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