Kate Garraway: "I wanted to be a vet when I was young"

'I wanted to be a vet when I was young' says presenter Kate Garraway

Yvonne Swann


21:33 GMT, 24 August 2012



21:33 GMT, 24 August 2012

This is a picture of me aged about 12 at my comprehensive school Fitzharrys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

I grew up in the area with my younger brother Matthew, who’s now a teacher living in Cornwall with his family.

My mum was a teacher too while my dad was a civil servant. Matthew and I had idyllic childhood surroundings, running around playing in the fields near our home.

Kate donned a bigger hair style in her school days

Kate donned a bigger hair style in her school days

My primary school, Dunmore, also in Abingdon, was brilliant. There were two playgrounds – one for infants and one for juniors.

We felt very grown-up once we made it into the juniors’ space. My very first teacher was called Miss Cullin. She had a beautiful cocker spaniel called Rifiki who would come with her into the classroom.

He would sit there behaving beautifully throughout the lessons, something that could certainly never happen now. It was fantastic.

He was such a good-natured, long-suffering dog. He allowed everyone to pet him and we were taught how to treat him gently and he was taught to sit quietly – so everyone benefited. It felt very warm and welcoming.

Kate originally wanted to be a vet

Kate originally wanted to be a vet

Miss Smewin, the headmistress, was very strict about manners and I was always in trouble for giggling and talking too much.

I remember being severely told off for running in the corridor. I was so shocked by the rebuke, I didn’t dare tell my mum about it until years later. It’s incredible how some teachers have that natural authority.

I suppose they felt if you were disciplined for minor things then you would be better prepared to face bigger challenges later on. So galloping through the corridors was a no-no, but generally I was a hard-working girl. I was certainly far from brilliant, but I did try very hard.

Fitzharrys felt huge after Dunmore, very big and loud, with bold girls who dyed their hair pink – a hangover from punk rock.

I felt bewildered at first but later loved it and made some lasting friends. I went back there recently to film a feature for Daybreak and it was so nice to see the teachers, many of whom have now retired.

But as I walked up the drive, I felt that mixture of slight dread and nerves again that I’d experienced as a child. I realised that no matter how happy your schooldays were, you were kind of on edge the whole time.

I wanted to be a vet when I was young and planned to study chemistry, biology and maths at A-level. Once I realised I would never get an A grade in my maths A-level I gave up that dream, and for a long time I had no idea what to do. Working in television wouldn’t have crossed my mind back then – it would have seemed as crazily ambitious as saying I wanted to be an astronaut.

In the end, after ten O-levels and three A-levels, I read English and history at Bath, which I loved. By the time I graduated, I had a massive overdraft to settle, so I went home and took a job in a publishing company.

I also did volunteer work at Fox FM, the local radio station.

My overdraft was paid off by the time I got a job as a trainee with BBC Radio Oxford and could work my way up to the broadcasting career I love

Kate appears on Daybreak, 6-8.30am, weekdays, ITV1.