Woking old school reunion

A REUNION group for people who attended either of several now closed Woking schools is getting ready for its annual get-together.

Church Street School, Old Woking, circa 1950-1951

Church Street School, Old Woking, circa 1950-1951

The Westfield, Kingfield and Old Woking Old Schools Reunion group meets for the 22nd time on Saturday, September 24, at Moorcroft, Old School Place, Westfield from 10am to 4pm.

The group’s secretary, Jean Follett, says: “The schools covered are Westfield Infant and Junior, Kingfield Secondary, Church Street Infant and The Highhlands. The reunions were started by Harry Cooper and Bob Kirby, never realising that they would become an annual event and so popular with so many past pupils.

“Harry and Bob, with their wives, organised the reunions from 1995 to 2004. They wanted them to continue after them, so asked for volunteers to form a committee to ensure the reunions would carry on indefinitely. Harry, who died in 2015 aged 95, was our chairman until 2013 when he stepped down for health reasons, yet became honorary president. Bob continued on the committee until he died in December 2014.

“Moorcroft is now a day centre, but was originally built for Westfield School. In my schooldays it was Westfield Infant School, so it is apt that our reunions are held in the original school building.”

Jean added that there are nearly 400 past pupils on the group’s mailing list – most living in the South East, with other around the UK and a few further afield including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Those attending the reunions love to reminisce about their schooldays. Fish and chip lunches are served with plenty of tea and coffee throughout the day. The group also has a growing collection of memories, anecdotes and photographs.

Some of the late Harry Cooper’s memories are included in the group’s latest newsletter. He wrote: “I started school in 1925 at the building now known as Moorcroft, where all grades up to 14 years old were taught. I have pleasant memories of some subjects such as science, woodwork and English. Arithmetic was a no no and I hated it, probably because I could never understand it.

“I was selected with an old friend, Peter Wade, to represent the school at the local musical festival in the elocution class. I seem to recall that we got a commendation of some sort, but certainly not a prize, perhaps a certificate.

“Our tutor was a dedicated lady called Miss Drowley who was determined that some of us village hobbledehoys would learn how to speak the King’s English. It was a hard struggle because many of us had a country accent and used lots of dialect words that had been used by our families and had existed for hundreds of years. B ut she never gave up and used small verses and couplets to eradicate the glottal stops and dropped aitches such as ‘thirty-thousand feathers on a thrush’s throat’. Some of the poems we learned have stuck in memory always but not all the verses, certainly not the fifty-four of Drake’s Drum!”

For more details of The Westfield, Kingfield and Old Woking Old Schools Reunion group, call Jean Follett on 01483 768685, or email jeanfollett@btinternet.com

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