50 Years On: Class of 1957-1964 Reunion

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For the past few months, Colin Wiles and Bill Bailey have been organising a reunion to "celebrate" leaving Borden Grammar School 50 years ago.This took place on Friday 6 June 2014 and Bill has produced the following report of the event:

On Friday 6th June 2014 I joined a group of elderly gentlemen gathered outside the main entrance of BGS...some 50 years after leaving the school.  Tim Hewitt, property manager,  was there to greet us and, after a group photo (see above), conducted us around to the right hand side of  the old building so that we could enter via a door where once there had been a path between school and the basket ball court that we knew back in the mid sixties.  Having done the rounds of the “old” school we moved onto the newer areas, and the splendid library.

At every turn there was a great deal of nostalgia, this was Ken Booth's classroom (latin and music)...now full of computers, this was the library...now full of computers...and so on.  The main vestibule was more familiar as was the headmaster's office, which had not changed much at all.  We were delighted to see the lighted sign above his door was still in place...how often did I wait in trepidation for it to display “Enter” in green for an appointment with George Hardy?  No cane above the fireplace, however, so we were safe.  As we toured around it became clear that every room had been re-designated, repainted and generally cheered.  Jim Howard's Spanish and French room on the eastern corner now enlarged to incorporate a section of corridor. And likewise the corridors, now lined with students' work.

Even “our” hall, minus its wall bars, had found use as a dining hall (re-charging machine for pre-payment luncheon cards!).  The hall did at least retain the knock down stage and the stage electrician's board was where I left it.  One of our party, Chris Willott climbed onto the stage to reprise his triumph as Edith the maid in the school production of “Blythe Spirit” (see photo).  Fortunately, he resisted the temptation to sing “Always” in a piping falsetto this time. 

thumb Chris Willott Back Home

We noted that the hole in the ceiling that we created had, at last, been patched. A stage maroon proved to be a little more powerful than anticipated during one production, filling the hall with smoke and deafening the watchers of the dress rehearsal of.....the name of the production escapes me.  And the outside area to the south of our hall, where I filmed “Driving Dizz”  (see You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WscIcpjt6EE), has been roofed over, there is now a cafeteria.

Up the staff staircase to the first floor, the dining room and kitchens had become classrooms.  And “Tot” Wheatley's “new” maths block had been enlarged and  re-modelled and was now a lab.  These changes didn't stop the memories returning, especially when we found the whole school photos on the top corridor where we were pleased to find labs where labs should be....minus the woodblock floors that harboured the mercury that we spilt when misbehaving.

The tour proved to be a great ice-breaker, bridging the years and getting us in the right frame of mind for the evening's event across the road in the UK Paper Club where drinks (served by a Young Bordenian) and a buffet were waiting.  It was interesting to note that, after a while, the missing hair and the extra pounds didn't matter because the features and mannerisms of youth were still there. 26 Old Boys, plus one (excuse me Ann) “Old Girl” who joined us occasionally for a science A level, quite a few with partners, gathered from all over the world.  Australia, Zambia, Grand Cayman, Malaga, Italy and all over the UK, too. Over 25,000 miles travelled   After a short welcome by the two organisers, Colin Wiles and Bill Bailey, an informal evening of nostalgia followed, a few items of memorabilia on show and a slide show of photographs and cine films.  We realised that this was our “Prom” as we didn't so much leave school as drift away after the exams.  No leavers' dinner, no stretched limos.

We embraced a wide range of professions too, a professor, lecturer, a lawyer, schoolmasters, IT men, mine logistics, accountancy, refrigeration, Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm.  George Hardy once said something to the effect that his aim was to make gentlemen of working class lads...whether we were working class is open to debate but I think George would feel pleased with the gentlemen who gathered together in the old school.

57-64 Reunion

There was general agreement that the event was a great success, the finances worked out well, and so there will be an even more informal event eventually, probably in a pub somewhere, partly to enable those who missed the event to catch up with the old crowd, partly to spend the balance of the pot gifted by non attenders.  Anybody who joined Borden in the mid to late fifties who is interested can eMail Bill Bailey on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be included on the circulation list.

Attendees

55 intake: Tony Crosse, David Mitchell, John Shepherd

56 intake: Trevor Beer, Andrew Potts, Tony Stables, Paul Taylor, George Welch,

57 intake : Andrew Bailey, Michael Beer, Phil Champness,Stephen Coulson, Michael Cox, Phil Dangerfield, Rebecca Dittman, William Foreman, Tom Frewin,, David Garlick, Richard Harris, Dizz Izzard, Roger Lerpiniere, Doug Littlejohns, Nigel Moon, Alan Saunders, J Barry Smith, Alan Walker, Colin Wiles, Chris Willott, Richard Worthington.

58 intake: Paul Benians

Others who can be contacted via Bill Bailey

Mark Ackhurst, Malcolm Bradshaw, John Burrage, Richard Chadwick, Alan Gillett, Mark wilson,  Dennis Parsons,  John Hogan, Patrick Lockerby, Fred Lupton, Alan Ormsby,  Robert Priston,  David Trinkwon, John Walker.

Editor's note: If any attendees would like to add comments, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will add to the website.