Classmates reunited after 65 years

The class photograph that led to the reunion
The class photograph that led to the reunion

Former classmates have been reunited 65 years after starting primary school.

The group spent three years together at Wargrave CE Infant School in Newton-le-Willows from 1951, before transferring to nearby Wargrave CE Junior School until 1958, when they moved on to secondary schools.

Former classmates and partners at the reunion

Former classmates and partners at the reunion

A class photograph from 1957 was discovered by ex-pupil Tom Hulmes when he was sorting through old documents and it triggered a plan for a reunion.

The photo appeared on a community website and was seen by former classmate Les Powell, now living in Essex, who got in touch with Tom and the pair managed to trace more than half of the class.

They spent a year researching family history records, electoral registers, company records and phone books.

Although they discovered several people had died, they managed to track down others to various parts of the UK and overseas to Spain, Canada and Australia.

They held a reunion at the Nine Arches pub in Earlestown, which was attended by eight former pupils and three partners.

Les said: “It’s amazing to think that when we first went to the infants’ school in 1951, the monarch was George VI, Clement Attlee was Prime Minister and we still had wartime food rationing books.

“Nobody had television and the highlight of family entertainment was listening to popular singers of the day - Nat King Cole and Vera Lynn – on radio which was then known as the wireless.”

Tom added: “Wargrave was an excellent school where pupils were encouraged to do their best and about half a dozen in the class passed the 11-plus exam and progressed to grammar school.

“One lad went on to become a world-renowned research scientist and others achieved success in many different walks of life including engineering, accountancy, private business, journalism and the armed services.”

At the reunion, the group studied old school photographs and swapped memories about school, people, places and family life in the “good old days”.