Ex-staff and pupils of Bacton’s demolished Eden Hall School unveil plaque at reunion

Former pupils and teachers of the Eden Hall School in Bacton which helped sick children rest and rec

Former pupils and teachers of the Eden Hall School in Bacton which helped sick children rest and recuperate hold a reunion and unveil a plaque marking the site of the former school which has been turned into housing. Pictured is Angela Lockwood who was deputy matron from 1968 to 1972, unveiling the plaque.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Laughter rang out and old friendships were renewed at a Norfolk seaside boarding school reunion with a difference.

Former pupils and teachers of the Eden Hall School in Bacton which helped sick children rest and rec

Former pupils and teachers of the Eden Hall School in Bacton which helped sick children rest and recuperate hold a reunion and unveil a plaque marking the site of the former school which has been turned into housing. Pictured is Angela Lockwood (right) who was deputy matron from 1968 to 1972, unveiling the plaque with from left Brian Dann, Jeanette Ford and Dennis Leach.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Pupils and staff from Eden Hall School, in Bacton, can no longer visit old classrooms as their school was demolished to make way for homes.

Instead, they unveiled a commemorative plaque on St George's Close, where Eden Hall had once stood, and were then treated to a tea party, including Pimms and homemade cakes, by Close residents.

The building dated from 1899 but became a Norfolk County Council school from 1954-1981. It cared for children with health problems, including asthma, eczema and epilepsy, hoping that they would benefit from seaside air and exercise.

More than 50 people attended Saturday's reunion travelling from as far afield as Northern Ireland, London, Hertfordshire and Essex to gather at Bacton pub The Poacher's Pocket before the ceremony.

Former pupils and teachers of the Eden Hall School in Bacton which helped sick children rest and rec

Former pupils and teachers of the Eden Hall School in Bacton which helped sick children rest and recuperate hold a reunion and unveil a plaque marking the site of the former school which has been turned into housing. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE


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Although 30 previous get-togethers have been held, many were attending for the first time to see the plaque unveiled by Angela Lockwood, née Briers, who had been deputy matron from 1968-1972 and married the son of headmaster Bill Lockwood.

Several of those present took part last May in a sponsored sea dip at Bacton, wearing school uniforms, to help raise cash for the plaque.

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Helen Newton, 48, née Boldero, met her husband and fellow ex-pupil Dean Newton, 53, at a previous reunion.

'I loved the school. It was like a big family,' said Mrs Newton, of Lime Tree Close, Wymondham.

Rosalind Randell, née Archer, a pupil from 1977-1981, enjoyed it so much she stopped going home to Gorleston at weekends.

'There was Guides, St John Ambulance, swimming, trips to Cromer. Every afternoon there were outside activities, like rounders on the beach. It was very happy,' she said.

Assistant matron Jean Atkins, née Flaxman, worked at Eden Hall from when it opened in 1954 until 1965 when the headmaster was Bill Lockwood.

'It had a lovely atmosphere and we went on some wonderful trips - to places like the Broads and RAF Coltishall,' said Mrs Atkins, 80, of Beeston Regis, near Sheringham.

Organiser Brian Dann, 47, was a pupil from 1976 until the school closed. 'This reunion has exceeded my expectations,' said Mr Dann, of Riversway, King's Lynn.

'Eden Hall meant so much to us. We spent so many years of our childhoods here and we've formed close bonds with each other, and with the village. Former pupils come back to spend time in the village all year round.'

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