KEITH NEWBERY A baby boomer can look back and count the blessings of a generation

We all need a bit of luck in life and my biggest slice came with the year of my birth – 1948.

It made me a member of the baby boomer generation, so-called because our parents set about enthusiastically procreating, certain the years to come could not possibly be as bad as those they had been forced to endure.

They were right, of course.

My parents were born either during or just after the first world war, which for most people was a time of poverty and social upheaval.

Britain – having emerged from one global conflict – was then drifted inexorably into another and my parents, like millions of others, did their bit.

My father served in the Army and was rescued from the beaches at Dunkirk – an experience he refused to speak about for the rest of his life.

My mother was in the Land Army and also had to help bring up her six younger siblings.

Compared to them (and thanks to them) I have had a life of advantage and opportunity – and the list of benefits is a long one.

The NHS was born the same year as me, so it’s been there as the ultimate safety net.

I was too young to do national service and also enjoyed a state education which seemed so much more fulfilling and thorough than anything my children were obliged to accept.

All three schools I attended were brand new and when I emerged blinking and fearful into the world of work clutching my meagre two O-levels, I did so secure in the knowledge there would be plenty of jobs from which to choose.

My teenage years bestrode the 1960s, which was an intoxicating decade to live through, but one which did so much damage to successive generations.

It was the ten years during which indulgence and selfishness disguised as ‘the pursuit of personal freedom’ spawned years of moral decay.

It meant we had our fun while others were left to pick up the pieces.

Now, as I approach pensionable age, I do so in the knowledge the next generation will probably not reach this stage of their lives in such a sanguine manner.

There’s no doubt about it – we baby boomers are a fortunate bunch.