Remarkable letter unearthed from teacher to schoolboy in 1937

Simon with the school letter sent to his brother Douglas in 1937
Simon with the school letter sent to his brother Douglas in 1937

A ‘remarkable’ letter of advice from a teacher to a Boston boy in 1937 has been unearthed by his family - who say he lived by the advice his entire life.

A familiar character in town, former Frith Bank Primary School pupil Douglas Kettleboro passed away earlier this year aged 92.

Douglas pictured when he worked on the railways

Douglas pictured when he worked on the railways

It was while going through his belongings that Douglas’ brother Simon discovered an astonishing school letter from March 24, 1937.

“The letter is remarkable - it came from his teacher when he left school aged 14, and I strongly believe he lived by this advice for his whole life,” said Simon. “His teacher must have been a wonderful and caring person.”

The letter (see below), from his teacher Mrs Perkins, offers Douglas heart-felt well-wishes on leaving school, advises him to take a positive path in life and to always be kind to others.

After school, Douglas went on to work a Currys cycle repair shop and Wrights ironmongers in High Street. He was later called to serve his country during the Second World War, aged 18.

“He found himself in the army as a lorry driver in the 46 Division which was a West Midland and West Riding Territorial Division,” said Simon. “Douglas, like many, never spoke of the horrors of what he had seen but because of them he never had the desire to go abroad again. Medals he was awarded include The Italy Star, The Africa Star, The 1939-1945 Star, The Defence Medal and The war medal.”

After returning from the war, he worked for the Railways and married his wife Lillian Bradley.

He lived in Puritan Way - and Simon said he has done his best to help others throughout his life and in his later years became very well-known around town, a familiar and friendlt figure with his trademark pork-pie hat.

In his eighties, with failing eyesight, he stopped driving and was well-known for travelling from his home on the local buses into the town centre.

Simon said: “He frequented the Bus Station Café almost daily and many stall holders knew him. He daily purchased boxes of chocolates to give to numerous persons as he was so grateful for the help many people gave him.

He added: “Douglas’ school teacher would be proud of him as he lived his life as she requested. He was a credit to his employers, his wife, friends and family and we are all proud to have had him as our brother.”

The letter in full, is as follows:

My Dear Douglas, at last your school days have come to an end, like all good things do. I shall miss you more than I can say, and I am very sorry to part with you because we have had some very happy and jolly times as well as hard lessons.
“My sincere wish for you is that you may grow up and be a credit to your parents, who work and strive so hard for you. May you be a credit to those whom you may work, wherever you may be.
“May you be a credit to your country and above all dear boy, may you be a credit to God, who loves you so much. As you go through life dear child, it will not always be rosy. We all find it very rough at times. The Devil is always busy trying to tempt us to do this, that and the other, to get us on the wrong turning. Try hard to say ‘no’ to anything which you think to be wrong. Your conscience generally tells you what is right and what is wrong. Be sure dear boy when you are choosing your friends, to choose the ‘right’ ones. Try to be loving and kind at home and wherever you may be, so that everyone will be proud of you, and God will certainly help you and keep you right. Talk a few minutes to Jesus each night before you lie down, also when you rise in the morning. Remembering that none of us can take care of ourselves. You need not go through a lot of prayers, but just talk, the same as you would talk to your dear mother, and say what you need. If at any time I can be of any help to you, write to me and I shall be most happy to do so.
And now, not ‘good-bye’, but may God bless and always take care of you.
Kind love
Mrs M. Perkins.