David McAdams

David McAdams

My name is David McAdams, an Old Boy of Loughton School, and this is my story.

I left Loughton School in Summer 1958, aged 16, hoping eventually to go to Writtle Agricultural College. So I spent time on farms in Sussex, and North Yorkshire, in preparation for this.

However, I then discovered that Writtle had a 1-year waiting list, so my father encouraged me to seek work in the City and I joined a Lloyds Insurance Broker as a junior in their marine department. This suited me, as my father was a Director of a shipping company, and consequently meant I had some knowledge of maritime matters. I progressed rapidly, and became a broker on the floor at Lloyds, handling cargo and hull insurance. I soon realised that this was much easier than being a farmer: hence I stayed in the Insurance industry all my working life, eventually hanging up my boots when I was 70.

I met my wife to be, Penny, at Confirmation classes at St Mary’s Church, Woodford, when I was fourteen and she was slightly younger, although we did not go out as a couple until some years later. We recently celebrated 55 years of marriage, during which time we were blessed with three children Andrew, Mathew, and Jane. Sadly Jane passed away in 2019 from Melanoma aged 48, leaving three young children in Canada.

My job took me to many countries, which led to me making many lasting friendships, and Penny and I still take pleasure in meeting with some of them, during our various trips round the world.

Due to my maritime involvement with Lloyds, I enlisted in the Metropolitan Thames Division river police, special constabulary, and remained with them for 22 years, ending up as a senior officer. I could write a book on my experiences and exploits while based at Wapping riverside.

My next community role was by becoming a member of Brentwood District Council, and I represented Ingatestone and Fryerning for ten years, only vacating my seat, when the family moved to a farmstead in Stock, which came under Chelmsford Constituency.

Prior to entering Loughton School I had been at St Aubyns Preparatory School in Woodford, often journeying from Stondon Massey to Ongar, then by steam train to Epping, then onwards to Woodford by Central line tube. Unfortunately the Epping to Ongar branch closed in 1994, however some years later the line was purchased by a local private company, and work began to reopen it.

As it brought childhood memories back to me, I volunteered to help with the reinstatement, initially helping to relay the track, later becoming head of the Carriage and Wagon Department, and becoming Chairman of the Epping and Ongar Volunteers Society, in the year it re-opened in 2012 as a Heritage Railway. I am still involved to a lesser degree, as I no longer feel that I can be the thin Controller or climb in and out of steam and diesel engines easily.

I remain active, and Penny and I enjoy gardening, visiting our grand children, and being involved in Village activities, which I trust will continue for some years, all being well!

I am also a Committee Member of the Old Loughtonians’ Association for former pupils and was invited by the Committee to tell my story.

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