OAP LIVED LIFE ACCORDING TO LETTER TEACHER GAVE HIM 80 YEARS AGO

    OAP LIVED LIFE ACCORDING TO LETTER TEACHER GAVE HIM 80 YEARS AGO

    The grieving family of a much-loved pensioner were stunned to discover he lived his life according to a letter his favourite teacher wrote to him – nearly 80 YEARS ago.

    When 92-year-old Douglas Kettleboro died in February this year his family found the handwritten note tucked inside an envelope in his desk.

    The letter, dated March 24, 1937, gave the young Douglas sage advice about life which his family claim he followed devotedly until his death.

    It was written to him by his teacher Mrs M Perkins who taught Douglas when he attended Frith Bank Primary School in Boston, Lincs.

    Telling Douglas she would miss him, she recalled their “very happy and jolly times” before urging him to live a Christian life and to make his parents proud.

    She wrote: “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.

    “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.”

    Mrs Perkins also urged her young protégé to choose the “right friends” and be wary of anyone taking advantage of his kind nature.

    His youngest brother Simon, 68, who found the letter while sorting through Douglas’ papers following his death, said: “When I came across the letter I couldn’t believe it because that is exactly how Doug lived his life.

    “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.

    “His teacher must have been a wonderful and caring person.

    “His teacher was obviously a Christian woman and so was Douglas for much of his life.

    “He gave lots of money to charity and anyone else who needed help and worked tirelessly to please our mum and dad.

    “He had a strong sense of right and wrong and everyone who knew him only had good things to say about him.

    “Mrs Perkins obviously thought a lot of Doug and he must have thought the same because he kept the letter with him for nearly 80 years.”

    After leaving school, Douglas went on to work a Currys cycle repair shop and Wrights ironmongers in Boston before serving as a lorry driver in the 46 Division during the Second World War.

    He married his wife Lillian in 1951 and the couple, enjoyed 56 years of marriage before she died of cancer in 2007.

    Retired police officer Simon, from Lincoln, added: “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.

    “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:

    “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.”

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      • After originally starting her journalism career at local paper the Leicester Mercury, Laura moved to Bristol to become a senior reporter at SWNS. She now runs the ‘Sell Us Your Story’ website, gathering different stories and undertaking general reporting and copywriting duties.

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