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Lifelong friends celebrate 60th anniversary of meeting at Newark's Lilley and Stone girls' school with special reunion



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A group of roughly 30 women have reconnected for the first time following the pandemic at the Lord Nelson pub in Winthorpe after a lifetime of knowing each other.

From Bingham to Bristol and Keighly to Kent, they travelled from all corners of the country to reunite after they first met in 1962 at the Newark High School for Girls otherwise known as the Lilley and Stone school in Newark.

The women enjoyed a meal and basked in the summer sunshine of the scenic pub garden, reminiscing about their school days and what they’d been up to over the decades.

60th anniversary Lilley and Stone school reunion at the Lord Nelson pub in Winthorpe. (57824427)
60th anniversary Lilley and Stone school reunion at the Lord Nelson pub in Winthorpe. (57824427)

Vickie Hewson, one of the organisers said: “We had intended meeting up last year for our 70th birthdays but in fact this year it is another milestone as it is 60 years since we first started our secondary education at Lilley and Stone.”

On her school experience Vickie: “Our headmistress Miss Dibb was a strict but kindly disciplinarian and we all respected her. So we will be reminiscing about our happy school days.”

Some of the women when they were at school on the hockey team, photo: Gill Briggs (57823623)
Some of the women when they were at school on the hockey team, photo: Gill Briggs (57823623)

Gill Briggs, another organiser had kept a detail photo album of the time the women all shared. She said: “The first time we all decided to get together was in 1979, ten years after we had left school."

The next meeting took place in 1989 and then every few years before becoming an annual affair. They last met in June 2019 due to the pandemic.

The Lord Nelson pub in Winthorpe. (57824421)
The Lord Nelson pub in Winthorpe. (57824421)

Contacting old friends through text, email, landline and by letter she was able to gather the largest group they’d had since the first meeting in 1979.

“Most of our ladies come from around Newark but some have come from Kent, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, Sussex etc.” Gill said.

The women meeting in 1979, ten years after leaving school. photo: Gill Briggs (57823639)
The women meeting in 1979, ten years after leaving school. photo: Gill Briggs (57823639)
Some of the women on a school trip in the 1960's, photo: Gill Briggs (57823630)
Some of the women on a school trip in the 1960's, photo: Gill Briggs (57823630)

“Events like this are brilliant for catching up with people we’ve not seen in a while, some we’ve not seen for 50 years.”

The women meeting in 1989, twenty years after leaving school. photo: Gill Briggs (57823642)
The women meeting in 1989, twenty years after leaving school. photo: Gill Briggs (57823642)

Carol Piper said: “Lots has happened since we last all saw one another, a lot of bad has happened especially with covid, so it’s been very emotional.

“But without the help of others, we wouldn’t be here today. These girls are my friends and they’re my family.”

The women meeting in in the 1990's, photo: Gill Briggs (57823645)
The women meeting in in the 1990's, photo: Gill Briggs (57823645)
The women meeting in 2002, photo: Gill Briggs (57823648)
The women meeting in 2002, photo: Gill Briggs (57823648)

Unfortunately not everyone could make it with some now living as far field as Spain, the United States and Canada. Other also couldn’t make it due to covid, surgery recovery and holidays.

The three event organisers (from left): Gill Briggs, Carol Piper and Vickie Hewson. (57824424)
The three event organisers (from left): Gill Briggs, Carol Piper and Vickie Hewson. (57824424)

After a speech from Nicky Coates, head girl during their school days, and Gill who read announcement and absentee messages, the women surprised the organisers with bouquets of flowers to show their appreciation.

The group have big plans for the future and hope to continue meeting for many more years to come.



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