90: Brendan McSharry OBE


Manage episode 277489864 series 2312064
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My guest this week is Brendan McSharry, Editor of The Link, who studied History and English at Lampeter from 1968-71. He has received an OBE for services to education and culture in Iraq where he spent four years working for the British Council.
Born in North West London in 1949, Brendan explains why he wanted to study as far away as possible from the city, and he remembers the long train journey to Carmarthen and what happened when he travelled with a Welsh lorry driver who couldn’t speak a word of English.
Brendan discusses his Irish background and how, from childhood, he can recall the fast pace of life in London and how he had hardly visited the countryside before going to Lampeter. In his family he was the first of his generation to go to university, and we find out what his parents did.
Brendan discusses Carnaby Street and how he became a voracious reader in later years, as well as developed a love of classical music. He was Captain of the cross country club while at university. His school, on the other hand, didn’t encourage debate, and he talks about the shock he received when theology students told him that parts of the Bible were not true.
He recalls hitching in his Lampeter days and travelling to the former Yugoslavia. We learn about the Dominican Sister who taught him English and inspired him to read widely and consider going to university. Brendan then talks about the university lecturers who inspired him too such as Bob Sharpe.
We learn about Brendan’s life post-Lampeter which included working for the British Council for 42 years and how he ended up in Iraq, and he recounts the time when the house three doors down from his was obliterated by a scud missile.
Brendan talks about how he has developed a world view and is not a Little Englander and why diversity is so essential to having a strong community. He reflects on the time he met with a Lampeter contemporary of his who voted differently in the Brexit referendum.
At the end of the interview we learn that when he was young Brendan wouldn’t have expected that he’d end up doing the things he has, and he talks about how he became more ambitious as he grew up. We find out what he thinks he would have done if he hadn’t gone to university as well as why he is so interested in the lives of others.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Brendan McSharry and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.