Reunion 2007 for 1965 leavers

A couple of years ago I was emptying out a draw and came across a letter written by Michael Smedley, dated December 1994

Michael had organised a reunion that year at the Old Southwellian dinner for the Class of '58 (started). In the letter he had suggested we go for another get together in 1997, the year in which we reached 50.

Well this was 2005 so well passed that date.

But what about trying to organise a get together anyway? The problem was going to be tracking people down – a few of us were registered on the Old Southwellian web site – but what about the rest. How to find them?

The starting point was a list of addresses which Michael had from 1994. I wrote to them in July 2005 and gradually the responses came in, although a couple of folks chose not to answer. Eventually we had 27 emails and Bob Jamieson – he is getting there on the email front!! And people spread far and wide – Dave West has the best claim to fame as he lives and works in China. Derek McGowan and Stephen Hill-Harris are in USA, with a couple more in France. Some have been 'lost', but you never know we may track them down one day.

After an exchange of emails we got down to the serious stuff of deciding when and where to have a reunion. Barry Marshall and I did a bit of planning. The reunion was set for 2007. We had missed meeting at 50 so we decided to shoot for 60. A good age – bus passes, free prescriptions, discounts at B&Q, winter fuel allowance, cheaper tickets for Nottingham Forest etc.

We all met up one Saturday evening in June at The Redhouse in Kelham for dinner.

A few folks were not able to make it – but we still managed an excellent turn out. Attendees were Messrs Bowman, Childs, Clements, Duffy, Freeman, Heginbotham, Hepple, Howes, Jamieson, King, Leivers, Marshall, McGowan, Pryer, Simpson, Smart, Smedley. Most came with partners.

We also had Steve and Margaret Pulford and Chris and Margaret Harris as our guests. It was good to see them all.

We had a great evening steeped in nostalgia (the wives said they were not too bored!!!). It was the first time some of us had seen each other for over 40 years. The evening was rounded off with a memorable speech from Michael Smedley. His reeling off the form register was truly amazing – John Walker would have loved it. I could not recall all of the masters he mentioned or the local girls. In those days very few local boys went to SMGS. I guess we had some difficulty with the dreaded 11 plus exam. In the '58 class only Derek McGowan lived in Southwell, I lived just outside in Hockerton, Philip Elliot at Halloughton and Mark Dicken in Caunton. The rest bussed in from Mansfield, Newark and elsewhere or like Michael were boarders. The times have changed. (Most of the first year were in short trousers as well – not something you would see today!!).

After dinner we rounded off the proceedings with cake with a local theme. I have to be a bit careful with my comments as my wife made the cake. Still nobody reported any adverse after effects so I assume it was OK. Another difference from today – we used my old school cap as a model for the cake.

One of our year who was not able to make the event was Martin Willcock. Martin was kind enough to provide funds for us all to drink a toast. He was well toasted!!

On Sunday morning Francis King and a few others joined in bell ringing at the Minster to be joined by more folks for a gathering at The Hearty Goodfellow for a farewell lunch.

Will we do it again? I think so. Mr McGowan did suggest the year in which we reach 100 as it will take him that long to save up the air miles to come from California. More likely we will go for 65 – or failing that 70.
Steve Pulford did make the point that to his recollection we are the first year to undertake such a venture. Previously groups have got together as part of Old Southwellian events, but not one like ours. Try it – it works. Steve also updated us on what is happening with the current school and encouraged joining the Old Southwellians. For those who have yet to join!!

John Howes SMGS 1958-65

See the photos