Class of ‘59 from Swaffham Secondary Modern enjoy reunion and tour of town’s Hamond’s High School

More than 40 former classmates and teachers enjoyed a lively get-together on Saturday.

The event is becoming an annual event following the success of two previous class of 1959 reunions, held last year and in 2009 to mark its 50th anniversary.

Organsier Lawrence Wright, of Swaffham, said: 'We had a job getting people to come in from the car park at the first reunion because everyone was chatting.

'We had CDs to provide background music, but we didn't need them. It's a really nice thing to do and w're still getting a good response, everyone is very keen.'

Fellow organiser Derek Edwards, of Toftwood near Dereham, has spent months tracking down former pupils, with some proving easier to find than others.

He has made hundreds of phone calls and has so far managed to trace 63 of the 68 classmates still alive.

'It's an extraordinary experience,' he said. 'People have been able to pick up where they left off and it's amazing how friendships have sprung up again.'

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Staff and 39 former pupils looked around the Brandon Road school and recreated their 1959 class photograph before heading over to the Conservative Club in Lynn Street for drinks and a buffet.

The school, now Hamond's High School, was brand new in 1955 and the former pupils noticed a number of major changes during the tour, including the loss of the school clock which youngsters stood beneath when they were in trouble.

Among the group was former music master Tom Golden, of Wereham near Downham Market, and former deputy head teacher Ellen Jenness, of Brisley near Dereham, who turns 90 this year.

'It brings back a lot of memories,' Miss Jenness said. 'It's interesting to see all the pupils again and hear what they have been doing with their lives.'

Also attending was science teacher Gordon Mason, who lives near Great Yarmouth and started the tradition of class photographs at the school.

'I came from Cambridgeshire where we always had annual photographs so I introduced it here and it caught on,' he said. 'It's lovely to have something to look back on. Those were happy times at Swaffham, I think it was one of the happiest schools I ever worked in.'

The organisers are still desperate to trace the remaining five classmates who were the children of RAF personnel living at Marham. They are Alan Legge, Barbara Payne, David 'Taffy' Salisbury and Bridget Smith.

Email Mr Edwards at dae.air-arch@talktalk.net if you can help.

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