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An exchange across the pond for Leyland pupils

Pupils at Wellfield High School, who went on a cultural exchange programme. Stephen Broomhead is on the second row, third from the right. Organiser Miss Audrey Malley is front row next to the end on the right
Pupils at Wellfield High School, who went on a cultural exchange programme. Stephen Broomhead is on the second row, third from the right. Organiser Miss Audrey Malley is front row next to the end on the right
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For pupils of Wellfield High School, it was an exciting time, including a trip to see the Statue of Liberty with his new friends from across the pond.

Stephen Broomhead was lucky enough to be involved in a cultural exchange programme with pupils in the United States of America in 1980.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Stephen, now 53, says: “The school had been doing it a few years. It was organised by Miss Audrey Malley and head teacher Mr Howell came a few times.

“It was so exciting. America seemed so different to our country, especially at our age.

“The students came over for three weeks when I was in my fourth year, in 1979 and I went over there for three weeks a year later in 1980.

“There was about 20 of us who went over.

“I stayed with a family in a little town called Elkins, in West Virginia. We did all sorts.

“We had a couple of nights in New York, where we went up the Empire State Building and saw the Statue of Liberty and a couple of days in Washington, which was very interesting.

“We also enjoyed some general trips to places like Charleston and camped in the mountains.

“When they came over here, we took them to London, Cirencester and we had a couple of day trips out to Manchester and Liverpool.

“They went to school with us and they organised trips, whilst individual families took their exchange pupil on their own outings.

“It was such a brilliant experience as we met people from another country with different views.”

After more than 30 years, Stephen, who lives in Clayton-le-Woods, is still in touch with a few of his American pals.

The father-of-one lorry driver adds: “I made a lot of friends.

“I stayed with a lad called Jon Olson and we are friends on Facebook.

“I am actually friends with three or four of the pupils on Facebook.

“My parents went over to stay with John’s family a few times and my grandad also went over there. Sadly John’s parents died a few years ago.”

Carol Valiant, another pupil, recalls; “We were so lucky to have that trip of a lifetime.

“I remember staying at The Taft Hotel in New York and having Burger King for the first time and visiting Washington DC as well as trips around Elkins to Blackwater Falls and Senecca Rocks.

“It was a magnificent experience.”