Christopher Cavania Sanders (Sandy) was born on 25 December 1905 in Hall Green, a small village near Wakefield in Yorkshire. His parents were Alf Sanders, a horse dealer and Sarah, who kept a small millinery shop which later became a general store. For reasons not known, sandy was initially brought up by his maternal grandparents-Francis and Frances Blakeley- in nearby Ossett. Francis was a boiler engineer and when he died in 1917, sandy moved back to live with his parents.Sandy & maternal grandparents circa 1915/16
Sandy spoke little of his early life, even to his children, though he did refer to loneliness whilst living with his grandparents and to his grandfather being in distress and in pain during his final year of life. His father was known to be self opinionated, authoritarian and obstinate and Sandy did recall being forced to make horses jump walls, throwing him on more than one occasion. His father died in 1951, having had a stroke the previous year, and Sandy tried to help him recover by taking him around all his old associates. A dutiful response in view of their difficult relationship.
When he returned to live with his parents, he continued his education at Ossett Grammer School travelling by bicycle. A freedom for Sandy, when he was older was to ride a motorbike around the Moors.
A school report for Spring 1920 showed Sandy coming first in form in Literature, Physics, Maths, Geometry and not surprisingly Art. His Headmaster commented however on 'too many detentions, often due to thoughtless mischief'. The Art Master strongly encouraged Sandy, leading him to determine that he would be an artist. This would run against the norm for Hall Green, where some men would work on the land but the majority would go down the pit. Sandy would have appeared to his peers as a strange animal and it showed his strengh of character that he persisted.
This persistence led him at 17 having private art lessons in Wakefield and he then went on to attend Leeds College of Art. Finally in 1926 he was accepted at the Royal College of Art in London. circa 1922 Sandy & Sarah his mother, taken at the family farm.