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Growing up with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour

I grew up in Newnham in the 1960s and our garden backed on to where David Gilmour and family lived in Grantchester Meadows . I was a friend of younger brother Mark, often spending time in their house .David answered the door and would be in other rooms while Mark and I were downstairs or in the garden. The house was large bright and airy with French windows opening onto a spacious garden with a weeping willow and a small Chapel.

We would play board games such as Ludo and Fuzzy Felt on a sofa . Mark and I attended the local primary school Newnham Croft and would walk along Eltisley Avenue together.

During the Autumn half term local children would borrow a large cart from a painter in Merton St and knock on Newnham doors collecting any wooden rubbish for a bonfire held every year near the first field approaching the meadows On Nov 5th people would attend to let off fireworks and watch the guy and bonfire burn At least once it was attended by both David Gilmour and Syd Barrett and friends.

Sometimes during summer evenings my family could hear jamming sessions coming from a shed in the Gilmour's garden . By the early 1970s the Gilmours had moved and l had become a Pink Floyd fan. My friend Stephy and I spent a lot of time on the meadows where one day we saw Syd Barrett on the river bank . We dared each other to approach him and he was nice enough to exchange a few words. Another later date we saw him in a rowing boat alone on the Cam and called to him where he waved back with one of his oars.

My father was Syd's form master for one year while he attended the Cambridgeshire High School on Hills Rd He gave my father one of his sketches which unfortunately got lost over the years. In 1972 my family moved to Hinton Way in Great Shelford. I spotted Syd a couple of times in Cambridge over the years but was by then suffering with his mental health . My brother who has worked for Formula- 1 spoke to David briefly at a Goodwood revival meeting as well as chatting more than once to Nick Mason who gave me an autograph.

Susi Foster December 2020

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