Old school friends set to relive their happy days at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame High School, Norwich, girls of 1963 who will be returning to the school as part of a

The Notre Dame High School, Norwich, girls of 1963 who will be returning to the school as part of a special reunion weekend. - Credit: Archant

The girls from Notre Dame High School in Norwich of the swinging 60s will be gathering in the city this weekend for a reunion. They will returning from far and wide - and one of them, Mary Herridge (nee Mountford), is making the journey from Australia.

Open day entertainment at Notre Dame High School, Norwich where staff and pupils, past and present c

Open day entertainment at Notre Dame High School, Norwich where staff and pupils, past and present celebrated the schools 150th anniversary. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

It will be the first time many of the former pupils, now aged 65, have seen Mary since she and her family left Norwich for a new life Down Under in 1970. She was aged 19 at the time.

The reunion will take place over two days and includes a tour of the school on Saturday morning and a celebration lunch at the Assembly House on Sunday – leaving time for a catch-up with school friends and a chance, for some, to see how the city has changed over the last half a century or so.

Verity Lyall explained: 'I am one of a group of women who were pupils at Notre Dame between 1961 and 1966/8. A few of us have stayed in touch and meet informally two or three times a year and this year we shall all be 65. With this in mind we have organised a much larger reunion.

'We have succeeded in contacting more than 40 of our old school friends, some of whom have not been heard of for many years. There has been a lot of interest and we expect at least 25 of them to join us on the Sunday – hopefully more,' she added.

Open day entertainment at Notre Dame High School, Norwich where staff and pupils, past and present c

Open day entertainment at Notre Dame High School, Norwich where staff and pupils, past and present celebrated the schools 150th anniversary. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant


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Much of the work organising the gathering has been done by Bridget Preston (Bailey) from her home on the isle of Wight.

If you were one of the pupils at the school and would like to go to the reunion give Verity a call on 01603 613698 or email her at vj.lyall@outlook.com

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It was in 1864 – one hundred years before the reunion girls were at the school – that six sisters arrived at Norwich railway station to open Notre Dame and change the face of education for girls in Norwich. It opened on St Catherine's Hill. They were indeed brace and strong women.

Changing over the decades it maintained a proud record of first-class teaching giving thousands of girls an education which would shape the rest of their lives. Boys were admitted in 1979.

At a celebration to mark its 150th anniversary last year former pupils described how it had changed over the years and Notre Dame was summed up so well by Helen Abbot, how in her 40s, who said: 'I loved being here. I love it with a passion. It was a real community here. I don't think we appreciated what we had – you would walk along here and see the nuns. It was beautiful. They were the best days of my life.'

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