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4th March 2005 at 00:00

Golf course assistant


Staff at Weston Turville golf club in Buckinghamshire were not quite sure what to expect when they agreed to take a work experience student from nearby Wendover House school for boys with emotional and behaviour difficulties. But they were so impressed with 16-year-old David Reed that after two weeks they invited him to stay on for the rest of the year.

David had never been to a golf club before. Now he works there every Thursday, cycling the 20-minute journey to and from home, serving customers in the pro shop, putting up shop displays, working as a waiter in the dining area, washing up in the kitchen - and trying out the occasional golf swing.

"At first I wasn't sure what I'd be doing, so for a bit I was watching and waiting," he says. "But the people here are brilliant. If I need any help they are there for me, and everyone is really nice to me. I'm always on the move, because I ask if there's anything I can do. It's improved my confidence: I find it hard to talk to new people, but when I'm serving customers here I sometimes have conversations with people I don't even know."

Excluded from mainstream schools in the past, David was unsure what welcome he would get from the working world. "I hope people don't think just because I go to Wendover House I'm a bad person, because I think we all have our own difficulties and we can all be good when we want to," he says.

Deputy golf club manager Gary George is delighted both sides gave each other the chance.

"Anything that needs doing, David's only too willing to help," he says. "I didn't know Wendover House existed. He's told us about it and I've got to know what sort of school it is.

"He's been fantastic: it's hard to think he's from that sort of background.

He's willing, he's likeable; at the end of his year here I shall be very sorry to lose him."

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