MEMORIES FROM THOSE WHO ATTENDED FRIENDS' SCHOOL, SAFFRON WALDEN

Reunion 2005

“Teenage dreams are hard to beat”

For those who have and those who are about to… turn 50, a special gathering of the 1973 year group took place at the Eight Bells on 21 May 2005.

At the Eight Bells

At the Eight Bells

Attended by
Geoff Barnard
Ralph Berry
Paul Brewster
Monica Cornforth [Fine, 1974]
Ve Chamberlain (who is a year younger, but had to mention it!)
Jonathan Clamp
Simon Colbeck
Gill Farrer [Seaman]
Jo Jones [Atkins]
Steve Moody
David Stuckey and Erika
Angus Willson
Fiona Wood [Adler]
Joy Worrell

Helen Houghton [Burgess], Steve Pitcher and Jonathan Richards met up with us earlier in the day.

Interested but didn’t quite make it this time
Kevin Kinsella
Shan Lancaster [Poynder]
Celia Redgate [Pitstow]
Sue Watkins [Pedley]

Mary Mileson (OSA President 2005) organised an OS, staff and students choir.

The passage of time evaporated as we settled into easy conversation about past and present. It was lovely to see Joy who has recently returned to living in Saffron Walden and had been coaxed to attend by Fiona. She was on good form, sharp-tongued as ever and unforgiving of those little boys with a breast-fixation. (OK, so that’s half of the year group.) Monica enjoyed herself in taking advantage of her honorary ’73 status from being a regular presence in the Boys’ sixth form common rooms. Geoff really did have his birthday at the weekend. Jonathan gave a little guitar-accompanied singing and rather rashly confessed that the first song he wrote was about Joy. What a smoothy! David and Erika have a baby on the way and we wondered if we have any grandparents in the year group. Jonathan and Gill declared a 26 and a 27 year old off-spring respectfully. And Jonathan has started again. Steve was able to join us because the bad-weather wiped out the cricket but we still are not satisfied with his non-appearance in that airline programme. I am uncertain how Gill and Helen manage to look so young but Paul’s salt-and-pepper designer stubble and my silver hair are a give-away. For a brief spell, Fiona went into Head Girl mode and proposed a huge thank you to Jo for organising us. Another get-together was suggested after an, as yet, unspecified interval and Ve offered her house in Pinner. If you weren’t there your ears may have been burning. So, let’s hear a defence from the person who, it was said, was sick on the stairs at Robin’s End after a sherry with John Woods.

On Sunday morning Joy phoned Jane Macready in Scotland who was surprised to be passed to both myself and Fiona.

That’s all from me for now. Do send your comments and photos, cheers, Angus.

Fiona Wood [Adler]: So….arriving in Saffron Walden on the Friday p.m. having been warned by my landlady of the one-way system (of course there would be one now) I found myself nervously ringing Joy’s doorbell wondering after thirty plus years how we would find each other. With two heads perhaps? I don’t know what makes one apprehensive but as she opened the door it didn’t take long once admitting the same for Joy and I to quickly establish the pattern of spending at least five minutes summarising thirty plus years of events before lapsing into nostalgia and regressing to anything between third and fifth form humour. I needn’t have worried.

This pattern continued on Saturday when I met Jo and Ve going into school and finding the Assembly Hall (and indeed most of the rest of the school) largely unchanged in essence. It was good meeting up with Mary Mileson again and we thoroughly enjoyed the rehearsals and performance of various pieces which had mostly been sung in school before but for me not since then and not as an alto! (something to do with age, as always)

What did surprise me, although on reflection probably naively, was that many of the memories I had were not equally shared by others. There were, of course, many that we did share and lots of those are recalled on the web-site but did I imagine going up into the roof as a sort of initiation ceremony and scratching my name on the cold water tank? Regrettably we found out that the old tank has recently been replaced so no way of checking and all that graffiti no doubt sent for scrap…..what a shame. And what about the locusts under the cups at breakfast time? I’m sure it was all the boys who stood on their chairs screaming!

During tea in the Dining Hall more and more of us arrived and gathered around one table and the noise level gradually increased likewise. High spirits and childish behaviour continued on Saturday evening at our meal (yes I did resume Head Girl mode to thank Jo but modesty forbade Gus to mention that I also thanked him for all his sterling work on the web-site which although difficult to read at times mostly contains light-hearted revelations which keep us happy). I hope the hysteria which occasionally engulfed our end of the table was forgiven by any having more erudite conversations but, with apologies to Jonathan (great guitar playing by the way) I will now only have to mention “being big in the gurkas” and Joy will no doubt once more be collapsing in a heap….it’s O.K.; laughter is very therapeutic!

And that’s what the week-end was for me. Great fun, very therapeutic, lovely to meet so many friends again and I will no doubt keep in touch with many of them.

And finally. WHO HAS GOT MY COPY OF “HEY JUDE”??!! No-one admitted to it over the meal but I’m sure I saw a guilty face…!

Jonathan Clamp: I had a great evening at the reunion the other day it was great to meet up again with some very special old friends.

The photos on your web site serve as a wonderful reminder of a perfect evening.

I hope my ‘travel guitar’ didn’t sound too terrible (not the ideal instrument for performing!).

I have to correct you on one point though; although I did write a song when I was 12 years old about my hopeless unrequited love for Joy, it was not the one I sang which was in fact written by Don Mclean.

It was great to see David after all these years complete with family to be! (If he needs any advice on nappies. teething or potty training tell him to get in touch).

Talking of getting in touch; could you please let me have the e-mail addresses of those who attended?

Keep up the good work with the web site!

David Stuckey: I was very nice seeing you all yesterday. Thank Steve Moody or the group for paying for our soups!

Monica Cornforth [Fine]: Just a note to thank you for inviting me to your reunion on Saturday. Is it really 32 years? Anyway it was a fantastic evening and it brought back some great memories. I’ll look out for your download list (seeing as my musical tastes haven’t moved on in 30 years…) hope I see you within the next 32…we’ll both be lucky to still be breathing by then!

Joy Worrell: Hello everybody. I just wanted to say how great it was to see you all again and how glad I am that I came.

Although I can’t imagine why any of you would visit SW, other than for a reunion, if you do you know where I am now if you’re in need of refreshment.

And for those who didn’t make it back to mine, phone for directions.

Responses – those unable to attend

Christian Gayfer

Christian Gayfer

Ceri Fell [Jones] – “we will be showing our nags in Devon. Have fun!!”
Christian Gayfer – new contact, living in Canada.
Adrianne Ryder-Cook – “will probably in the States… you never know”
Richard Mongar – “At the moment it looks very unlikely that I’ll be coming up to see you all.”
Julienne Markland [Little] – “I’m sorry but I won’t be able to be with you at the reunion/50 year bash. Have a great time and take lots of photos. Remember me to everyone.”

Reminder: email addresses are not published on this site, but are available from Jo or Angus. There are numerous changes since 2002.

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