All Newsletters : March 2004 : Literacy Honour for Castledare/Clontarf “Old Boy”
Literacy Honour for Castledare/Clontarf “Old Boy”
Toddy McLaughlin Proves it’s NEVER too Late to Learn
Former resident of Castledare and Clontarf, Donald McLaughlin-Todd (Toddy) has won an Outstanding Older Learner Award based on his success in the Read-Write-Now Literacy Program run by Midland Swan TAFE.
Toddy was presented with his Award at a recent ceremony at State Parliament As well as a certificate and medallion (which Toddy proudly displays in the photo at right) he also received a voucher for a course of his choosing through the University Of Western Australia’s Extension Courses which was the Category sponsor.
It’s been a long journey to literacy for Toddy, who as a toddler aged three was placed in Nazareth House orphanage in Carlisle and then at the tender age of five sent to far away Australia on board the Asturias arriving in Fremantle on 10 December 1947.
Toddy spent the next five years at Castledare and a further five at Clontarf.
However, in his early years at school Toddy’s eyesight was not up to the task of seeing what was written on the black board, greatly impeding his learning and dampening his confidence.
It was only in his final three months of schooling that Toddy’s eyes were finally tested and glasses prescribed.
Toddy left school at 15 and went to work on a poultry farm, then as an apprentice jockey, after that he had a spell in the Army and finally worked as a Truck Driver for many years.
But his poor reading and writing skills meant that jobs with better prospects for advancement continued to elude him.
Toddy is now retired from the workforce and at 62 is glad he took the first steps to improve his reading and writing skills. These days he reads and understands books and newspapers with ease. He’s also benefited from computer tuition enabling him to access the world wide web and to communicate with confidence via email.
Toddy is presently studying the rules of lawn bowls with the aim of qualifying as an umpire!