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Mark Baggley: The Death of Friends

Mark was born in 1960 in Hull and grew up in Scunthorpe. Mark went to his local primary school and then was sent to a residential special school in Lincolnshire at the age of eleven. From there Mark went on to a residential special college in Coventry.

Here Mark talks about the lack of pastoral support at his school.

Transcript

I think the one thing that you sadly did get prepared for quite well was death. Two or three of my friends had muscular dystrophy and one of them actually died, not in the school but went home at half term, didn’t come back. And so to were used to seeing kids not being around for a lot of time, certainly by the time I was 21, all my best friends at school had died 'cos they all had a similar sort of impairment. Did the staff or anyone talk to you about this? No. Not in that way, I think, no. The staff said, I remember saying, they got us together, so we came back the first day and looking around, said 'Where’s Keith?' and nobody seemed to say anything and so at the end of the day the teacher got us together and said, 'Oh I’m afraid Keith won’t be coming back'. and I thought 'Oh gone to another school', I never thought about him having an accident and then they said that he’d died and I don’t think really we had a clue how to react. They said, if you want to go in your bedroom and have a quiet time and so went in there and I remember one of the guys there, Dave, was crying his eyes out but it sounded like he was laughing and I remember we got really annoyed with him and said, 'What the hell are you laughing for, you know? But no, there was no preparation and that. I don’t know how we gradually became aware, but we did become aware that certain children with certain impairments weren’t going to live that long. I think we knew that. I don’t know how we got to know that or where it came from. But no, there was no preparation in terms of that, no.