Were you class of 1969? Mexborough Grammar School pupils are set to reunite 50 years on
Pauline Browne has great memories of her own school years, at Mexborough Grammar School.
“I was class of 1969, and our year was actually the first through the door when the new grammar school opened its doors on Maple Road in 1964,” recalls Pauline, known then as Pauline Kelly.
“Of course it was a very disciplined school, and there were times I was scared to death, especially in those early years, but I remember having a fantastic time in my last two years, and now I can look back on it all very fondly. It certainly set us all in good stead.”
Pauline is one of a number of classmates currently organising a 50 year school reunion for the class of ‘69.
“I can't believe it’s been 50 years,” Pauline says.
“We already have 42 people confirmed for the event, on October 19 – some of whom I haven't seen since our 25 year reunion, others I haven't laid eyes on since the day we left school, so it’ll be a great night.”
Pauline explains that, like every school year, hers had moments that still stand out now, over five decades on.
“I remember school trips to Thurso in Scotland, as well as the South of France,” she smiles.
“I remember our year putting on a Gilbert and Sullivan musical, and taking part in a big inter-school sports day that was held each year, as well as an arts festival that I always put something in for, with the help of my favourite art teacher, Mrs Porter.
“There were school houses – Halifax, Savile, Rockingham, and Montagu – that were always competing to be top dog, and I remember there were two dinner times – at 12.05pm and 12.40pm – each day, plus an assembly each morning from Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, the whole school, including the sixth form and all the teachers, would congregate in the great hall for an end-of-week assembly, with over 1,000 people in one space.
“The girls all had to wear berets and the boys wore caps, and I remember that if a head girl or head boy saw you in uniform without your beret or cap on, even if you weren't in school at the time, they’d give you detention.”
Some 25 years ago, quite a few people gathered from the school year, meeting at a local pub to share stories and catch up on each others lives. Pauline is hopeful that this reunion will bring together even more of her former classmates, as well as teachers.
“I’ve kept in touch with a few people over the years,” she explains.
“I set up a Facebook page for Mexborough Grammar School and many of us reconnected on there, along with a lot of other ex-pupils, older and younger, and some teachers too. Others I have email addresses for, so there has been a lot of work involved in trying to track people down and spread the word about this reunion. I reckon I’ve managed to reach about 25 per cent of the year, so there are still a lot of people out there we’d like to reach out to.”
The reunion will be held at The Manor, Old Denaby on October 19, from 7pm. There will also be a carvery served, at a cost of £10 per head.
“Everyone from our year is welcome, and partners are welcome to join from 10.30pm," says Pauline, aged 66.
“We wanted to give people the chance to catch up and tell stories and mingle before we ask husbands and wives to join.
“We’re going to have a playlist that will jolt a lot of memories, and there will be various things to look at on the night, including a display board with names of people we know have passed on, so that they can be with us in spirit too.”
She adds with a twinkle in her eye: “I also have a special surprise for the night – but those attending will have to wait and see what that is!”
And Pauline says one teacher that is confirmed to attend is Mr Fordham, who she says many Mexborough Grammer School pupils will remember.
“John Fordham was an English teacher when we were at school, and absolutely everybody loved him,” she says.
“So we’re delighted he’ll be there on the night.”
And Pauline says the former pupils she's spoken to are very excited at the prospect of meeting up, some of them for the first time since 1969.
“We’ve got people coming from as far away as Scotland, and Turkey. Funnily enough, since I set up the page on Facebook, some of the lads have been in touch with each other, and met up with their wives. Lots of people been bringing me their 'dinner money' for the night to my house, and it’s been lovely to see so many familiar faces. They’ve shown up at my door and it’s like the years roll away and it’s 1969 all over again.”
Pauline’s classmate, Norma Reynolds, added: “There are so many memories of our time at Mexborough Grammar School; going down to the Rave Cave for a coffee at lunch time and having to hurry back for afternoon lessons, our form collecting silver paper to give us an excuse to blag an afternoon off whilst we took the stuff down to the collection point at the hospital, and the time I got a darning needle stuck through my finger.
“Sixth form PE was great, when we did 'cross country,' and a full fencing kit stored in the gym store cupboard that we never saw anyone use!”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pauline on 07850 469058 for details.