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Reunion 9th September 2007

My Day Out by Pauline Kendall aged 59

My day started early. I was woken at 5am because my partner was also going out for the day and had to leave by 6am for an auto-sprint in the Midlands. I dared not go back to sleep in case I missed my train.

I hadnt been on a train for years but turned up at Yatton Station (in Somerset), more in hope than expectation, ready for the 8.39 to Paddington. To my surprise, the train arrived exactly on time and was still on time at Paddington.

Yatton Station

Paddington Station

I then found my way via the London Underground to Newbury Park. I had downloaded some useful times and routes from the London Transport website amazing how helpful this can be when you havent lived in the area for over 30 years! Im sure those trains hurtle through their tunnels much faster than they used to! I arrived spot on time and Geoff Gillon was there, as promised, to pick me up.

Newbury Park Station now a listed building

Geoff Gillon

After a snack and a chat in Sainsburys we made our way to the school where we joined the queue at the entrance. From then on things became a bit of a blur! So many people to talk to and lots going on on the field.

Activity on the field

Entrant for the Fancy Dress Competition

Someone must have thought I was an "official" and asked me how to get to the hall so I pretended I remembered exactly how to get there and managed to take her there in time to see the present-day pupils playing their recorders and displaying their dancing skills.

In the hall I saw June and Mark Richards. "Mr Richards", as I knew him, had been my teacher for my last two years at William Torbitt and Id seen him at the 60th anniversary. He still remembered every detail of that class of pupils which amazed me as it has been 48 years!

Recorders sounding much better than I remember!

June and Mark Richards

I took a look at some of the classrooms they seemed much friendlier than when I attended the school. Then I visited the hall upstairs and found great numbers of older ex-pupils having fun looking at the old intake registers and the notorious Punishment Book which caused huge amusement.

Typical classroom

Searching the registers

The Punishment Book! I believe Geoff Gillon appeared there more than once this entry shows when he was caught crossing the Eastern Avenue without using the subway.

Everywhere I went I seemed to find people to talk to and even found David Goodliff (up until then just a name) who has kindly sponsored for the past six years (and now a seventh!). Several other people were also kind enough to press cash into my hand!

Me with David and Cathy Goodliff

Me with Alan (Doug) Nichols and his wife

Then there were old neighbours from Suffolk Road, people from my era at the school plus people I was introduced to because I look after I will never remember all their names but it was a pleasure to talk to them and to see everyone having such a wonderful afternoon.

Mr Bidgood, Sue Pollington?, Mark Richards and John Beard

Geoff Gillon with Mr Bidgood

The school looks basically the same and those new windows must be an improvement for everyone

The refreshment area before it became VERY busy!

All too soon it was time to go. John Roper had done his homework and gave me a print-out of a school photo from the website which he had completed with names. Im sorry John that I didnt realise who you were straight away Id met such a lot of new faces in one afternoon!

After a speedy meal nearby I was dropped back at Newbury Park Station. I have to say that Im glad I no longer have to use The Tube on a daily basis when it is crowded with commuters but once again, London Transport came up trumps and I arrived back at Paddington with time to spare. The Great Western train was also punctual and I arrived back in Yatton on time, picked up my car and got home by 11.30pm. This might have been late for a "school night" but was worth it for a great day out.

Well done to everyone who made the effort to attend from far and (world)wide and thanks to everyone at the school for putting on the 70th anniversary party you must have worked very hard it was much appreciated.


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