REUNION COVERS SIX DECADES OF QEGS HISTORY

Date: Saturday 3rd September 2005

HUNDREDS of former pupils of Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School gathered in the town at the weekend for a reunion weekend for pupils from almost six decades of the school’s history.

HUNDREDS of former pupils of Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School gathered in the town at the weekend for a reunion weekend for pupils from almost six decades of the school’s history.

Those born in the 1920s mingled with relative youngsters yet to hit 30, and familiar faces who still live in the town today were able to renew their acquaintance with old friends who now live as far afield as San Francisco, California and the south of France.

Also present were numerous former heads and teachers, including the recently retired Colin Birnie, who was deputy head and then headteacher from 1978-2004; Nona Murray, deputy head from 1978-85; and teachers John Rodgers, Arthur Catterall, Bridget Davey, Charles Holmes, Jim Spence, Jennifer Wilson, Brian McVey, Sue Tomlinson, Ian Black and Margaret Sait (nee Bowe), the latter of whom was also a former pupil.

Mr. Rodgers also helped organise the event, which he said was very successful, despite coming only five years after a similar reunion staged as a millennium celebration.

He said: “The numbers weren’t as big as when we had the millennium reunion, but lots of people wanted to do something special that year. About 300 people attended this one.

“There was a party at Rheged on the Saturday night, but we were also at the school during the day and we staggered it so that people were able to meet up with people from their own age group.”

As well as revisiting their old haunts at the school on both Saturday and Sunday, past pupils were able to browse through memorabilia, which included old school photographs and records. They were also able to sample today’s school dinners, with lunch in the canteen each day, and attend a traditional school assembly on Sunday.

The end of the weekend also saw a sports tournament on the school playing fields and in the sports hall, while there was a smaller reunion for a group of men who played in their own folk band while at school, but split when they all moved to different parts of the country. They performed together at the reunion for the first time in 20 years.

Mr. Rodgers, who has now retired from teaching, hopes someone else will now take over the reins to continue the events in future years, but believes this will evolve into smaller groups of around the same age group. “People really want to see their old friends and people who they remember,” he said.