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High school girls reunited

The former pupils of Newark’s Lilley and Stone Girls’ High School together again — 50 years after leaving the sixth form.
The former pupils of Newark’s Lilley and Stone Girls’ High School together again — 50 years after leaving the sixth form.

Former pupils of the Lilley and Stone Girls’ High School, Newark, held a reunion 50 years to the day that they left the sixth form.

It was attended by 22 women, now aged 68, who met for lunch at Gannets Day Café and Bistro, Newark, to exchange school day memories and catch up on what has happened to them since.

For some it was the first time they had met since they left the school in 1968.

Others had attended previous reunions held to mark landmark occasions, including the year when they all reached 40.

Hazel Gascoyne (née Foster) said a small group of them still met in Southwell three times a year.

They decided at Christmas to organise a reunion on the day they finally left school 50 years ago. She said it was one of their best attended so far.

“The High School was a great place for friendships,” she said.

Hazel had an hour-long journey to the school from Woodborough each day, getting the train from Lowdham Station and then walking in a crocodile formation through Newark with other pupils who travelled the same way.

“There was a designated route we had to take,” she said.

“We weren’t allowed to cut through the Market Place.”

Hazel, who went on to work in further education, said she had fond memories of her school days and teachers.

“The best was Mr Wilmore — the Latin teacher,” she said.

Linda Cox (née Stirland) went to the school at the age of 12 after being unsuccessful at getting a place at 11.

As a result, her first year in secondary education was at Sconce Hills School and she said things were very different at the High School.

“I had to get used to the rigour of exams,” she said.

She valued the opportunity to go to an all-girls’ school and worked hard.

Linda went on to become a primary teacher and is a former head at Farndon Primary School.

“I adored the sixth form. There were so many opportunities. It was a very forward- looking school,” said Linda.

Those at the reunion included the two deputy head girls from the year — Gina Brindley (née Swinn) and Elaine Hemsley (née King).

Gina said most of her memories from her school days were of pupils being rather naughty, including secretly cutting a lock of hair from a maths teacher.

She said she was inspired by French teacher Miss Harding and, as a result, went on to become a French and Latin teacher.

Elaine went to the High School after leaving the tiny school in East Stoke, which had only 30 pupils.

“It was a completely different way of life,” she said.

“I don’t remember any bullying and the headmistress, Miss Dibb, knew every girl by name.”

After leaving the High School Elaine trained as a primary teacher and worked at schools in Newark, Elston and Coddington.

Hazel said she was pleased the reunion had been so successful and would love to hold another.

Any former classmates who would like to be put in touch with her should contact l.mil lard@newarkadvertiser.co.uk


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