David Walker

Interviewee: David Walker
Born: 1947, Birmingham
Interviewers: Pupils from Year 6, Saint Margaret Mary’s RC School
Date of interview: 20th November 2012

Born Hockley.  Back-to-back house. Redevelopment.  Italian mother, Irish father:  “Brummie mongrel”.  Burbury St primary.  Handsworth Grammar.  Learnt from museums.  Wasted schooling.  Apprentice fabricator-welder Metal Sections (Tube Investments), Oldbury.  Moved to Quinton.  Left home at 18.  Self-employed 29 years, steel fabrication.  

Wanted change, to travel less.  Applied Oscott College, 42 applicants, 3 interviews.

Early memories – poverty.  Enjoyed primary.  At Handsworth Grammar called ‘Aston guttersnipe’, caned, sold cigarettes.

Married 22 years.  Divorced – away too much.  (Now have partner.)  Wanted change - Oscott College job.  

41 applicants.  Manager says I had passion for college – oasis: building, grounds, wildlife, cemetery, like coming home.  Well-qualified.   Varied – building maintenance, grounds, forestry, cemetery, funerals.   

Different from past industrial work.  Days vary.  Live near – on 24-hour call.  Plans change – never boring.

Catholic priests train.  Catholic groups visit.  I help with schools outreach, maintenance, multi-tasking.

62 resident students, different ages, train for 6 years.  Ordained in chapel.  Local & foreign students. Papal visit attracted more.  Locals call it monastery, but always seminary.  Some serious, some sporty, intense training, deserve to become priests.  We get on well.

Born Catholic.  Not now practising, but not a worse person. Catholics admirable, but updates needed.  Respect all religions.  Religion in heart.  Big ceremonies here need updating to maintain interest.

Pope’s visit in Sept 2010 private, relaxed, loving.  I started 5 am.  Police.  He rested in Episcopium.  Lunch.  Archbishops.  1000 guests.  He met staff – photos. 

Other events – outdoor masses, Vincent Nicholl, invocations.  Happy place.  Pope’s visit biggest event.


Full Interview