Classmates get together 48 years after leaving school

Reunion after 48 years at Margaret Beaufort School, Riseley.Old picture with students outside the school in 1966. ''Back row Left to right - John Ellison, Tony Stanton, Michael Ford, Mr Winters (Form Teacher) Me, Patrick Horn and Dave Bicknell.''Front Row Left to right - Jennifer Coupe, Joan Swepston, Patricia Annis, Betty Sringer, Brenda Green and Rosalind Neal.
Reunion after 48 years at Margaret Beaufort School, Riseley.Old picture with students outside the school in 1966. ''Back row Left to right - John Ellison, Tony Stanton, Michael Ford, Mr Winters (Form Teacher) Me, Patrick Horn and Dave Bicknell.''Front Row Left to right - Jennifer Coupe, Joan Swepston, Patricia Annis, Betty Sringer, Brenda Green and Rosalind Neal.

A man whose curiosity was sparked by an old school picture led to him organising a reunion 48 years after he and pals departed from Riseley’s Margaret Beaufort School.

The picture was taken in the summer of 1966 outside the front of the High Street school, which was then a secondary modern school.

Reunion after 48 years at Margaret Beaufort School, Riseley.The new picture outside the school in 2014. ''Back row Left to Right - Lucy Williams, Mrs Scanes (secretary), Jack Winters (woodwork/metalwork) Mr Matt Wray (Deputy Head), Mr Yerrill, Mr Harrington and Pam Philips.''Front Row Left to right - Mrs Telling, Ann Baber, Mrs Wharton, Harry Barnes (Headmaster), Margaret Burrows (Home Economics), Janet Hope and Mrs Herring.

Reunion after 48 years at Margaret Beaufort School, Riseley.The new picture outside the school in 2014. ''Back row Left to Right - Lucy Williams, Mrs Scanes (secretary), Jack Winters (woodwork/metalwork) Mr Matt Wray (Deputy Head), Mr Yerrill, Mr Harrington and Pam Philips.''Front Row Left to right - Mrs Telling, Ann Baber, Mrs Wharton, Harry Barnes (Headmaster), Margaret Burrows (Home Economics), Janet Hope and Mrs Herring.

Reunion organiser John Bradley said: “I kept looking at this photograph and just couldn’t help but wonder just where and what everyone did or went after going out through those school gates for the very last time.

“We all look so innocent and we’re just about to go out into the big wide world. I just wanted to find them all and find out how they all faired in that big wide world.”

He contacted the Daily Mail’s missing and found column and the published picture sparked an immediate response, with Brenda Foster (née Green), Joan Jackson (nee Swepston) and Betty Scoley (nee Stringer) getting in touch.

John, 64, said: “Then a former teacher, Mrs Telling also got in touch after being notified by her newspaper delivery man that her old school was mentioned in that Saturday’s paper.”

Brenda used her genealogy skills to track down the rest of the group and Jennifer Coup was found on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia, where she had emigrated as a midwife in 1981 and is now retired.

“So, after a couple of months, all in the photograph had been found and contacted and we started to think about a reunion,” said John.

Initially a small get together was organised at the Ye Three Fyshes in Turvey in September and then a date was set for a bigger reunion in November when they met up at their old school and recreated the original class picture, minus some who were unable to attend, that had inspired the meet up.

John, who over the years has worked as a postman, been a student nurse and now works nights as a cryogenic operator, said: “We were hoping to arrange a tour around inside the school, but unfortunately the caretaker was away on the day.

“We were allowed to walk around outside and we had many conversations on the noted changed that we could remember. Noticeably the swimming pool had disappeared and was paved over as too was Mr Pool’s garden area for rural science. This was now under an extended playground.”

The group then went for a meal at the Fox and Hounds in High Street.

“So after an incredible 48 years we all came together, something that I had only dreamed of over the past few years.

“As our reunion was coming to an end, it was noted that our coming together again was as if we had just returned to school after the long summer holidays, and not after a 48-year break. We all got on so well.

“We will stay in touch now and during our meal we all agreed to meet up again next year.”