Former classmates are planning a reunion next year to mark 60 years since they all started at Downham Market Grammar School.
Nine ex-pupils met for the first time in decades recently – and had such a great time that they’ve decided to track down as many of their former school friends as possible ahead of the anniversary next year.
The past pupils, who all attended the school between 1954 and 1961, met at the home of Richard Yallop, in Watton. Some had travelled quite a distance, including Margaret Garde (nee Yule), who now lives in Lyon in France, Katrina Morris (nee Butterworth), who lives in Bury St Edmunds, and Ron MacDonald, from Oadby, near Leicester.
The photo shows, going round the table from left to right, Judy Reed, Margaret Garde, Ron MacDonald, Katrina Morris, Richard Yallop, Patsy Parker, Sylvia Shaw and Diana Rix (Warwick Hunt was taking the photo).
The get-together was sparked by a reunion in June 2011 for pupils who had been leavers from Downham Market Grammar School between 1959 and 1970. Three ex-pupils who started the school in 1954 attended the event – Richard Yallop, Margaret Garde (nee Yule) and Judy Reed (nee King).
It was then decided to have another get-together in 2012 which the three, plus Patsy Parker (nee Sampher), Susan Dawson (nee Bailey), and Allan Cammack, who lives near Nottingham, also attended.
Since then, they’ve contacted others from their year at school, which led to the recent reunion involving even more former classmates.
Diana Rix (nee Matthews), who lives at Castle Rising, near King’s Lynn, and who was meeting her former classmates for the first time in decades, said: “We had such a good time catching up and reminiscing about old times that we’ve decided we really ought to do something special next year to mark 60 years since we all started at the school.”
Spreading the word
Now they are appealing to anyone in the area who joined the school at the same time to get in touch.
“There were 36-38 pupils in our year at Downham Market Grammar School,” said Diana, who lived in Shouldham when she attended the school. “We’ve started tracking down a few, and we know there were at least two other people who would have liked to have joined our recent reunion but unfortunately couldn’t make it. Sadly we know of four who have passed away.
“We hope that anyone else who was part of our year group will get in touch, or that anyone who reads this will pass on the details to friends or family who went to the school at the same time. Hopefully we’ll get as many as possible along to a big reunion next year.”
The former pupils have all recently turned 70 or will do so over the coming months.
Downham Market Grammar School ceased to exist in in the early 1980s, when the three secondary schools of Downham (Downham Market Grammar, Downham Market Boys’ and Downham Market Girls’) amalgamated to form Downham Market High School.
If you attended Downham Market Grammar School at Ryston End, starting in 1954, please get in touch with Judy Reed (nee King) on 01366 386895 or Richard Yallop on 01953 889363.