Swansea Beginnings

Hello, my name is Neville Wilshire, although everyone calls me Nev. The following pages will give you an insight into my life, both personal and professional.

Happy Times

Pennard Castle

Pennard Castle

I was a child of the 50’s, but only just. I was born in 1959, the middle child of three brothers, in the small village of Pennard, just 7 miles from Swansea town centre. My Father was still a student when I was born so we didn’t have much but were, and have always been, a close family.

I was just two when the family moved to an estate in Killay. It was a new estate with lots of young families just like ours. It was a happy childhood; I can still remember countless hours spent riding my bike, ball games in the streets and popping in and out of friends’ houses.  I can still recall many a happy day exploring and playing in the wide open spaces of Dunvant Park. I made friends in Killay that would be with me throughout my school years.I attended Dunvant Junior School and Olchfa Comprehensive. I enjoyed my time in school but as my teachers undoubtedly said, I preferred to entertain my class mates rather than settle down to work! My favourite subject was always PE and it was in sport that I excelled. I captained my junior school and represented Swansea Schools at football, but also played in the basketball, cross country and tennis teams while at Olchfa; in fact I’d play pretty much any sport other than rugby.

Lessons For Life

Looking back on my school days there are two teachers that stood out for me. Mr Williams and Mr Morgan taught at Dunvant Junior School and were inspirational figures. One ran the cricket team and the other the football team, but it was academically that they inspired me at an important age. I remember both as being good men who conveyed the importance of learning. Mr Morgan was interested in local history and geography much of which I can still remember. OK, I may not have been the most academic of pupils but school did teach me about morals and doing things the right way.

While at school I dreamt of joining the army and serving my country but as I got older this changed to thoughts of becoming a PE teacher and continuing my love of sport. I passed my O’ levels and a career in teaching looked possible, but ultimately the pleasures of 6th form got in the way. Olchfa Comprehensive had a big 6th form and every week seemed to have another 18th birthday party to distract me from my studies! I took my A’ levels but didn’t get the required grades and the world of work beckoned.

I had first started working while at school as a way of funding my 6th form social life. I spent Saturdays and summer holidays in the mid 1970’s at the Thomas Thomas’s warehouse on Union Street in Swansea. Burger King and Santander now occupy the space where I got my first taste of work. I enjoyed my time there and it led to my first full time job.

World Of Work

After leaving school in 1977 I was recommended by someone at Thomas Thomas’s for a job with FG Trew’s, a builder’s merchant in Swansea. Starting full time work was a real shock to the system, I found myself as an 18 year old starting at the bottom and dealing with the tradesmen of Swansea, I had to learn fast to survive. I worked on the trade counter and learnt everything I could about plumbing and heating and the basics of how to make a sale. Ultimately though, this wasn’t the job for me, and I made myself a promise that I would never again work in a job where I was unhappy, a promise I have kept to this day.