Memories of classmates flood back

FRIENDS of two former classmates who died within a month of each other celebrated their lives at a school reunion.The class of 1988 from Holywells High got back together after 20 years in memory of popular Mandy Page and Graham Rumbellow.

FRIENDS of two former classmates who died within a month of each other celebrated their lives at a school reunion.

The class of 1988 from Holywells High got back together after 20 years in memory of popular Mandy Page and Graham Rumbellow.

Their close friends Rachel Knight, nee Storer, Lisa Brennan and Brendan Hynes, organised the event in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.

Mrs Knight said: “It went really well and we raised a bit of money for charity, about £200.

“We had great fun and by the end of the night we were all dancing together. It was great to be together again - it felt pretty much like old times.”

The night kicked off at the Holiday Inn, London Road, Ipswich, which was provided for free because Mrs Knight works at the hotel.

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There were nibbles and drinks with a charity raffle, followed by a disco until midnight, when the night owls went on to a bar in town.

Mrs Knight said: “There were a couple of people I had not seen since we left school so it was really good to see them.

“We are going to try to meet up at some point to have a proper meal where we can chat without being drunk!”

Mr Hynes added: “Obviously it was quite sad not to see some people there but it was quite a good turnout and it was good to catch up.

“I must admit we were a little bit worried if people would enjoy it, but it was an absolutely fantastic night. Everyone who went had a great time.

“Twenty years go quite quickly. It is a shame that you only do it every ten or 20 years.

“I took a few numbers of people who I will definitely get back in touch with and try to see more regularly.”

Annette Harper was a former Holywells pupil at the reunion.

She said: “It started off just like school with the girls in one corner and the boys in the other but everyone soon started dancing.

“Some of us have got teenage children and some are just starting families so it was interesting to talk to each other.

“I would definitely like to do it more often and try to get our children involved because there were a lot of people who could not be there.”

Pay your tributes to Mandy Page and Graham Rumbellow - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

If you are planning a reunion, let us know. We'll tell old schoolmates in advance that it is happening and try to come along in the evening to take photographs for an Old School Ties feature.>

ANNETTE Harper was so shy at school that she did not think any of her classmates would remember her.

She said: “A lot of people recognised me that I did not think would, because I was quite quiet at school.

“I was shy and my friends and I kept ourselves in the corner, away from everybody else. But now I am better than I used to be, I am much more confident.”

Annette now lives with her husband Robert Harper and her three children Yazmin, 16, Bethany, 13, and Kallum, 9, in Belvedere Road, Ipswich.

She now works at Sidegate Guest House, Ipswich, having previously been a receptionist and helped her husband run a fish and chip shop.

She said: “I am still in contact with quite a few of my school friends. We send each other Christmas cards and so on, but we do not see each other very often any more.”

BRENDAN Hynes joined the navy on leaving school, and served on a submarine for seven years before deciding to become a policeman.

He still lives in Ipswich with his wife of one year, Clemmie, and said he is in contact with one or two friends from school, though he would like to get back in touch with more.

He said: “I think people were surprised I was married, because they did not think I would find anyone that would put up with me!

“I still see the odd one or two people, but not as many as I would like. I don't want to leave it another 10 years - there are some people who I would like to see again at Christmas.”