Yvonne Wake (Castro)



Yvonne Wake

My parents were both born in Islington, my father was one of 9 brothers and sisters and they all lived in Cloudsley Road with my grandmother (my grandfather died before I was born so I didn't know him). My mother was one of 9 children also, so lots of us roaming around Islington! They married in that big church on Pentonville Road. We lived in Northdown Street in a couple of rooms with an outside loo - fun at the time except when it snowed! Our house is now a very smart looking house and has been converted into very posh flats! When Risinghill closed down, we knew we would be moving to Hackney in the future, so I was sent to a school called South Hackney Upper School. Life in Hackney was rough and ready, and changing schools wasn't the greatest thing for me.

However, I messed around lots with boys and got up to all kinds of shenanigans! but stayed there until I was 18, leaving with a few O levels and a few RCA's and some typing and cooking skills. I decided to travel around Europe and did so with my sister and two girl friends. In the days of hitch hiking and it was wonderful fun. By the time I was 19, I had met my first husband. He was French and we married and lived in Paris for the following 10 years. We have a son, who is now 28 years old and lives with Olivia and their beautiful daughter Vera-Lily, aged three and their son Emmanuel aged 8 months. My son Laurent met Olivia at Sussex University, where they were both studying. Whilst I was living in France I obviously learnt to speak fluent French, so when I split from my French husband (after 10 years) I came back to the UK and took a French A level at evening classes. I also took Art A level at evening classes. I trained to be a fitness instructor in the late 70's and went on to own two very successful Ladies Only Health Clubs in central London in the 80's and 90's. I married again and had two daughters; they are now 21 and 18. Holly the 21 year old is in her third year at university studying Journalism and Cultural studies and Sophie-Rose is at a drama school finishing her A levels. I now live in Southfields with Christopher and at 50 years old decided to go back to school. I completed a three year science degree in Nutrition and Health, and continued to study by completing an Msc in Public Health Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (so right back to my North London roots as that school is just down the road from where I was born!). I like to think that my future will have something to do with the fight against Childhood Obesity, but for now have been offered a post at Roehampton University as a Lecturer in Nutrition and Health which I love and feel very privileged to be part of an educational environment. Am now planning my PhD which I will commence in the next few months.

I feel that learning at my age (55) is so cool, and I have no regrets whatsoever that I did not do it sooner. I had other things to do like travelling the world, having children, learning languages (French and Spanish). My father has died, but my mother is still very much alive and is a great inspiration to me. She is the happiest person around and never complains about anything.

If I had my time again, I wouldn't change anything concerning the structure of my life, especially my time at Risinghill..........