Weymouth Grammar School 1973–78-80: Reunion 2003

If you don’t know this already, the 2003 reunion was organised by myself. I never considered myself the ideal candidate for the job (I wasn't exactly Mr Popular at school), but I took on the challenge for the following reasons: 

A – half the school year had recently registered with the internet phenomenon Friends Reunited, but nobody appeared to want to seize an ideal opportunity to make use of this contact info for reunion purposes 

B – I had a lot of time on my hands at that point, and felt this was an opportune moment to do something positive that would give me some focus (although I still wish that someone better-suited had stepped up)  

I contacted all those registered on FR with my proposal and considered their responses. As you can imagine where any group of people are concerned, of those who made the effort to reply I got the usual gamut ranging from instant agreement to participate, to any manner of reasons (genuine or not, as the case may be) as to be indisposed. However, initial reaction was in the main positive enough to at least get the ball rolling… 

I decided to look into booking a venue that many of us were already familiar with from schooldays. Possibilities included WGS itself and the Crown Hotel, a favourite watering hole of that era. However, what I really wanted was a place where out-of-school parties had been held. The Kingswood Hotel on Rodwell Road was unfortunately no longer available, however back then you may recall I did the discos for some parties at the old Chickerell village hall, where many of us first discovered the joys (?) of getting bladdered. So I checked it out in the unlikely event it was still there: after all, it was an anachronistic throwback even in the 1970’s. Amazingly, not only was it still standing, but it had hardly changed since, and it was still available for hire.     

This stroke of good luck dispersed any lingering thoughts of abandoning the project, and I pushed ahead with things. I was also fortunate to engage the help of Sarah Moon (who had co-organised the 1994 reunion) plus Anne Rogers and Jane Bowering who proved immensely useful as local contacts. Although I was living in Manchester without my own transport, I made two or three trips by train to Weymouth to look people up (thanks to Rick Stubbs for the use of his bike).

Once I really got into it, it was like I’d been able to step into a time vortex and gone back to school, with many memories seemingly becoming as fresh as yesterday. I got to recollect (I think) all the boys on the register, and most of the girls (sorry “U” girls, but I could only remember about half of you). I also had good recall on where people lived when at school (fortunately, a lot of their parents still lived at the same addresses, which made people a lot easier to find). Eventually I managed to track down and invite at least three-quarters of the year, and got around 70 people to commit to participating, which I suppose wasn’t bad.

As for the evening itself, I think things went really well on the whole – people certainly seemed to be having a good time. Perhaps it was because I was the host with the responsibility of making things go smoothly, but it finished far too quickly, and due to staying behind to clear up, I was a victim of the infamous town “curfew” and wasn’t able to join those who had continued jugging once the party was over. However all things said and done I felt it was a good thing to do and didn’t regret doing it, although I think once a lifetime is sufficient… But as time goes on I just might change that opinion. Of course, should any other brave soul wish to organise another reunion in a few years time (before we start dying off), then I can forward the contact details I have available. 

Pictures courtesy of Ross Aldridge.

one Bev and two bevvies...

Mr G Wakeford: Winner of the "Dorian Gray" award...

Frostie shares a laugh with Spence and Steeps (never thought that would happen...)

new boys now old boys...

I bet they regretted it in the morning...


add your own amusing captions to the rest:







the following were "Leo" montages I put together to display at the reunion:




Update March 2009:

I recently revisited Weymouth, and whilst there went over to Chickerell to see a friend. Glancing down the side road where the village hall was located, I was taken aback to discover that it has now been demolished, presumably to make way for new housing.

Apart from feeling rather saddened that a piece of our past has been consigned to oblivion (likely for reasons of financial greed - it should have been listed!), that pretty much puts the kibosh on any lingering thoughts of organising another reunion....

Update November 2011:

With the 2012 reunion proposed/organised by Michael Frost in mind I was going through some old related files, and was pleased to stumble across a few photos that Christine Coleman (nee Knight) sent me shortly after the last one, that I thought had long-since disappeared! Here's the best of them:


...if you look closely you can see Fiona's younger self on the wall!



gavinunderhill.co.uk and all associated webpages © Gavin Underhill July 2008 onwards. Should you wish to contact me, then click here*

 *if you are having trouble accessing Microsoft Outlook when clicking on the email link, then try right-clicking over the link and a "copy email" option may appear

DEAR VISITOR, PLEASE NOTE: this is a non-profit-making site that is NOT commercially sponsored, but although it's cheap to maintain it's not free! So if you have found it useful, beneficial or enlightening in some way and feel moved to make a donation towards the running costs of keeping it online, then please get in touch...