Ian Thorpe - Wikipedia Ian Thorpe - Wikipedia

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I was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and went to kindergarten at Kesteven High School for Girls, where they took little boys in the nursery classes.

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Back then I was beaten for getting laughs — now I get paid for it. I was incredibly homesick. For details, visit www. It was hard work, but worth it. Next thing I knew I was on a train to Scotland to begin an engineering apprenticeship on Glasgow's Clydebank shipyards, with a firm called Drysdales who made pumps for ships.

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Carry on I did, but because of the severe rationing, I wasn't getting enough nourishment for a teenager. Just A Minute returns to Radio 4 on 27 July.

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Parents weren't allowed to visit during term time, and I only survived because I could make my friends laugh.

I loved rugby, cricket and boxing, and again I did well in class. In any case, I always found that, when I walked on stage, I felt so at home the stutter always faded away.

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Instead, I was sent to a ghastly establishment in north London, where I seemed to know more than the teachers.

The place was archaic in the extreme.

There I was, a public school boy with the accent to match, mixing with all these unusual characters. I was very slow at learning to read and write, but I had — and still have — an excellent memory, and always remembered my lessons.

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After two years, my parents at last took my brother and me away from Tenterden Hall and sent us to a day-school — Colet Court in Hammersmith, the prep school for St Paul's. I knocked on doors, wrote letters, auditioned, understudied, and never took no for an answer.

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Instead, I suddenly collapsed and spent six months in hospital with a serious lung condition. Once we'd arrived in the capital, my parents — Paul, a doctor who delivered Margaret Thatcher, and Nell — sent me and my older brother, John, to a boarding prep school, Tenterden Hall in Hendon.

After my apprenticeship I volunteered for the Merchant Navy as a junior engineer, but never sailed.

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Me and my school photo Most watched News videos. I'm sure she thought I'd end up as an alcoholic pervert in the gutter.

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It all took its toll. My younger sister, Patricia, was evacuated with her school, and my brother already had an apprenticeship at Rolls- Royce, but my parents, who'd decided I was a non-achiever, chose not to send me away with my school. He has two grown-up children from his first marriage, and lives in Buckinghamshire with second wife, Annie, I was blissfully happy and never wanted to go home at the end of the day.

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