Former RAF officer’s life story

Pictures contributed
Pictures contributed

Our first Vive Lecture of the year was given by Mr Ray Chase, a retired Flight Lieutenant with the Royal Air Force. Ray took students and teachers back to his childhood experiences during the six years of the Second World War; times of air raids, food rationing and of living in incessant fear.

Ray described how he did not see his father for six years as he was in the Navy, and expressed how difficult times were for his mother, whom he compared to being like a single parent looking after the children, the home and working to pay the bills - there were no benefits to help support people at this time.

During his later life, when working in air traffic control in Sri Lanka, Ray did not have any communication with his family. When he left England his sister was nine-years- old and when he came back she was 12! Apparently, she still recalls this experience. The difference between communication and technology since then is astounding!

When Ray retired he went to Kenya on safari which sparked an interest in helping the disadvantaged people there. This led to various trips which Ray funded himself helping young people and families to improve their living conditions and start up new businesses.

Ray presented a range of pictures showing us the poor conditions the people had to live in. The varied accounts and discussions on the very different experiences in Ray’s life had the audience captivated. It was fantastic to see so many girls in Year 7 at their first lecture in the Senior School.

This was the first in a series of Vive Lectures which are part of Farlington’s Scholarship Enrichment Programme and run throughout the academic year. Interesting and engaging speakers help students widen their learning within and beyond the curriculum.

Our next Vive lecture is on Friday 4 th November at 4pm with Mr Adrian Mellor presenting ‘The science behind our skin, the sun and art of safe tanning’.

Students from other local schools are welcome to attend. For a full programme and to book, please contact Jean Salt on 01403 254967 or email her on

Contributed by Farlington School

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