July 2018

Friends Reunited: School reunion a huge success

A recent reunion of Withernsea High School’s intake of 1969 proved to be a huge success when over 70 members of the cohort reconnected at the Meridian Centre on the evening of Saturday, 23rd June.

The reunion was held in celebration of the year group turning 60, with many attendees travelling a considerable distance to be there – some from as far afield as Australia and South Africa.

Reunion organiser Cathryn Brown commented: ‘There was a real buzz of excitement and everyone was engrossed in conversation as they shared memories and caught up with one another. We had an amazing time and I would like to thank everyone who helped to organise the event, as well as all of those who attended, for making it such a special occasion.’ 

Earlier the same day, around a dozen members of the group met at their former school where they were led on a tour of the site by the school’s Media Coordinator, Tim Nuttall,

Mr Nuttall commented: ‘It was a pleasure to show members of the class of 1969 around their former school. Despite the large scale improvements to our site in recent years, there is still a substantial section of the original school building in place which triggered some wonderful memories from the group. It was also pleasing to hear how impressed they were with the school’s newest teaching block and its facilities for our present-day learners.’

During the tour, the group were treated to a showing of the school’s appearance in a BBC documentary series which celebrated its status as one of the country’s first purpose-built comprehensive schools.

First broadcast in 1970, the feature formed part of the Man Alive current affairs series – a staple of the BBC2 schedule throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Many of the group remembered the filming taking place and the footage triggered memories of teachers, students and school surroundings alike. There was an audible gasp as the school’s then Headteacher William ‘Pop’ Shaw appeared on screen – with the sound of his voice transporting people back in time some 40 years to their school days. The group were later surprised to learn Mr Shaw’s ashes were interred in the grounds of the school after his death in the early 1990s.

Following the success of this year’s reunion, the suggestion of a repeat in five years time has already been mooted.

Mrs Brown commented: ‘It has been suggested we meet again when we turn 65, which is another reunion I’m sure we would all welcome, but who knows when we will get together again. One thing is for certain, we will certainly be keeping in touch with one another in the meantime.’

ABOVE: Members of the Class of 1969 meet on the steps of the front entrance ahead of their tour around the school.

ABOVE: A blast from the past... the former students found themselves sitting behind exam desks in the main hall as they watched the school's appearance in a 1970 BBC documentary.

ABOVE: Back to school! The former students explore the Engineering workshop - a new space in the new building, but with some of the original benches and equipment from their era still being used.

Further reading: Class of 1969 Reunion
The original article advertising the reunion, accompanied by photographs from the school archive.