A Weston Boy from ‘poop’ to prefect….
Jeremy ‘Gumby’ Brooke attended Weston Agricultural College from 1995-1999. He arrived at Weston a skinny little pip-squeak and left there a gentle, compassionate and extremely confident, kind young man. He was a boarder and some of the friends he made at school were closer than brothers. The friendships he and his classmates formed at school remained a huge part of their lives with them regularly meeting up as very proud ‘Old Boys’.
The stories told of their time at school relay how much fun was had alongside the more serious academic and farming instruction. Jeremy studied hard the subjects he was interested in and achieved a Matriculation Exemption. However, he never particularly enjoyed the classroom (or being inside at all!) and really did not want to go on to further education at University. Like many at Weston, he was much more comfortable doing practical activities and the skills he learnt made it much easier for him to do the variety of jobs he did once finishing school.
Jeremy loved sports and played rugby for the first team (his size was perfect for playing hooker!) He was fortunate enough to go on a rugby tour to New Zealand when he was in Std 9 – a highlight in his school career.
He was passionate about the sea and chose to become a diver. To achieve this dream meant that, for a very long time, Jeremy worked like a dog and lived like a hermit so he could save enough money to be able to travel and become a qualified Dive Master, Dive Instructor, Skipper, unqualified but fully competent diesel mechanic and maintenance man enabling him to be a professional beach bum/surfer dude the rest of the time in Sodwana Bay, South Africa.
Over Jeremy’s short working career, he grew cabbages (which paid for his first trip to Scotland where he was a cook, general dogsbody and hotel maintenance man (laying a bowling green which he was extremely proud of, together with Matthew McGlew), builder,farm worker with pigs and doing contract farming which paid his fees to do the Hulett-Tongaat course for building and vehicle maintenance, as well as for his first Open Water Dive Course, diesel mechanic and finally, apprentice horticulturist, to name but a few! He even worked in a Sony factory on the production line and sorted through rubbish at a recycling centre in the UK. Jeremy’s reputation as a diesel mechanic in Sodwana opened the door for him to go to the Philippines in 2013 where he was the mechanic on the set of a TV series, keeping all the generators and quad bikes working (‘a generator is just a big tractor without wheels in a box’).
Due to Jeremy’s unrelenting work ethic and determination to do the job right, options were opening up for him and he was well on his way to fulfilling more dreams of building his own home and starting his own business as a free-lance skipper/diver and having a specialised plant nursery in Sodwana. All this while still living in the place he loved most and being able to do the things he loved most-surfing and diving!
One of the things Jeremy lived his life by was that ‘if you are not happy doing something, ask yourself – do I need to do this as a means of achieving some ultimate goal, or is there something else I can do which I would enjoy? The answer to this question can be life changing!
”Opportunities are for the making, not just for the taking!”