Class­mates roll back the years

More than 100 join Bish­op­shalt re­union

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

IT’S more than three decades since they walked out of the gates and went their sep­a­rate ways, but on Satur­day May 7, former pupils of Bish­op­shalt school in Hilling­don re­turned for a re­union.

Many were ner­vous at the prospect of en­coun­ter­ing friends not seen since 1980.

“I came with a cer­tain trep­i­da­tion,” said one­time school ten­nis star Gill Eas­ton, be­fore ad­mit­ting she needn’t have wor­ried: “I loved ev­ery minute.”

The seed had been planted one night last April, in the Red Lion pub near the school, when talk among a hand­ful of former pupils turned to their class­mates. Where were they now and what were they up to? There was only one way to find out…

They con­tacted the school’s Old Ux­o­ni­ans As­so­ci­a­tion, and were as­tounded to re­ceive a re­sponse from one of their own teach­ers, Ken Pearce, now the school’s ar­chiv­ist (and him­self a former pupil). With his help, and that of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and as­sorted fam­ily tree web­sites, they set about track­ing down their peers, grad­u­ally tick­ing off all but 18 of the 159 names con­jured from noth­ing more than faded class lists and mem­o­ries.

A year on, 67 of the class of 1973-80 were back at Bish­op­shalt, squint­ing at each other’s name tags and barely con­ceal­ing their as­ton­ish­ment that teach­ers who had seemed an­cient then were not only still alive but here.

At school, then later at the Red Lion, they laughed and chat­ted, and mar­velled at old mem­o­ries.

Many had come a long way – from Wales, Scot­land, York­shire, Som­er­set, even Aus­tralia and New Zealand – but all agreed it had been worth the ef­fort.

“It was a bit sur­real,” deputy head boy Michael Cham­bers said later, speak­ing for ev­ery­one when he added, “and I am so glad I came.”

Cur­rent Bish­op­shalt A-level pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dents Amy Louise Meas­day and Danielle Howard were on hand to record the 1973-80 re­union for pos­ter­ity.

The class­mates are still keen to track dwon the re­main­ing friends, if you are, or know, a miss­ing class­mate, please email an­drea.chap­man18@bt­in­ter­net.com.

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