Memories of Skegness Grammar School from the class of ‘55

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It was a 60-year reunion for Skegness Grammar School’s class of ‘55 when they met up at Stamford recently.

Writing to The Standard about the reunion, and their memories from school, John Clark describes how the old class mates have been meeting regularly over the decades, and reflecting on how the town has changed.

“School reunions are not at all unusual, but this one was,” writes John, who now lives in Grimsby.

“It was in September 1955 that this group of friends joined Skegness Grammar School, then under the headship of Mr Ferguson. Sixty years later they met at Greetham Valley Golf Club near Stamford for their seventh reunion. It was in 1993 that Paul Dorling instigated the first reunion. Helped by Patricia Purnell (nee Fanthorpe), they have met regularly ever since.

Paul says that in the 1950s and ‘60s Skegness was an interesting and fun place in which to grow up. Skegness was a much smaller town then. It was neither too large or too small for members of the group to make lasting friendships both inside and outside school. Indeed many of these friendships have lasted well over 60 years.

“As with all school reunions there was much reminiscing about their teachers. Teachers like Miss Sutton, Miss Jeffries and Miss Cavell in the infants school, Mr Bell, Mr Groom, Miss King and Miss Leyland in the junior school were all recalled with the affection of time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it was their grammar school teachers who they felt had made the greatest impact on their lives to come.

History was taught by Miss Taylorson and later by Mr Robson and Mr John. Geography was in the capable hands Mr Carlson, Mr Cawthorpe, Mr White and Mr Bye. Mr Atkinson and Miss Parkes were the maths teachers. How many pupils today know their squared times tables from 13 squared to 19 squared? Mr Taylor taught English with his old university notes and with great humour. How many pupils today can recognise a zeugma? Mr Taylor’s daughter, Alison, joined them for the reunion.

“There were many more teachers who were remembered with affection, but one of the greatest influences on all of the lives to come was from Mr Ferguson, the headmaster. Mr Ferguson had a love of astronomy and in the first year at the grammar school astronomy was compulsory, with weekly lessons. There were also regular readings in school assembly from ‘The Times’ science correspondent about astronomical events. The class of ‘55 knew their planets from Mercury to Pluto, and they can all find the Pole Star! Thank you Mr Ferguson. The class of ‘55 were once again pleased to welcome Mr Ferguson’s daughter Ann to the gathering.

“After a weekend of reminiscence and re-establishing old friendships it was decided that they would meet again in two years’ time at the same location.

“They agreed that their shared school experiences and the friendships made have created a unique bond that continues to be worth preserving.”