If said silver-haired ‘Californian' gentleman had not done his article for the 2007 ‘Crossleyan', it might never have happened! I sat reading it and thought "It seems like only yesterday we had the 25 years on reunion and 2008 must be the 40th!" This time, I rang Hazel Clayton (neé Binks), an original 25th year reunion organiser and threw down the challenge "Is thee up for it lass?!". I think that's how you say it in Yorkshire. I've been 10 years in ‘Nu-castle' and 30 years in ‘Heart ford shire', so I cannot really remember! Anyway, Hazel seemed to know how to humour me and said she was "Up for it, if you are absolutely sure?!". She would ‘do' the girls, if I would ‘do' the boys.
Hazel sent me a few e-mail and old-fashioned addresses and a list of the lads who were thought to constitute our year group and off we set. I could not believe it. I sent the e-mails off and my terminal lit up, if you'll excuse the terminology. The answers came in seconds, from all over the world! I could not believe how the e-mails took on a life of their own. Talk about chain letters. As I was a ‘B' classer and the first flush of contacts were ‘A' classers, half the stories I had not witnessed but they were still great to read and I did know the (long-suffering) masters in half the stories. Photographs were supplied from 61 to 68 and more recent ones! So we could play ‘Spot the old git' games and hope they looked older than we did. Not true for me, as most of the swine still have hair, especially the girls!
Unfortunately, Geoff Pugh could not make the 40th do. He had to go to his goddaughter's wedding. Nor could Alan Robson from Wellington, New Zealand, Julian Gee from Jackson, USA, nor John Robertson from somewhere in the Nigerian river delta! But we did hear from them, and others, who supplied web sites (containing many published stories from NZ about those far off days) or e-mail reminiscences and updates on what had happened to people in the intervening 40 years, which were passed round on the night.
However, 15 other lads did make it, with special thanks to Andrew Jordan, all the way from Fort Myers, Florida, and Col Innes, who jetted in from northern California, as well as the others from all parts of the UK. The girls' most far-flung attendee was Elaine White, all the way from Sydney, Australia. Others travelled from the south coast, Wales and Scotland. Altogether, we had over 35 people, which was a fantastic turnout, considering the time and expense involved in many people's trips. We also have photos of the do, available on new fangled electronic gizmo sites, that I do not understand but there are ‘link' things below, so you can view them at your leisure.
We looked round the school, fascinating, pored over the excellent photo records in the library, had lunch and then went down to Standeven in the afternoon. We did not watch much of the cricket, did drink too much (but not as much as we used to) and many stayed till gone midnight, indulging in more half sentences and floods of laughter, not to mention the odd jig on the dance floor to music of ‘our era'. We aim to do it again in five or ten years, so put 2013 and 2018 in the diaries! The reunion is the first Saturday in July. Don't be shy; I had not been back in 15 years until last year.
Was it worth it? Well, yes, if the number of appreciative e-mails, cards and letters received in the following week or two is anything to go by. Sorry if we did not manage to reach you, send us your contact details and we will put you on the list for next time!!!!
ANDY TROTTER AND HAZEL CLAYTON