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Class reunion at Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 March 2010

REMEMBER "Fred" the chalky slipper, Buckingham Palace and the cane? Teenage punishment and a brush with Royalty were among the mixed bag of memories swapped by former pupils of Felixstowe Middle School and High School when they met for a 1967 reunion on Saturday.

THERE were those that loved every day of their time at Felixstowe Middle and High School and others who made a premature exit when they were expelled.

But all were full of smiles about their old schooldays when they headed to Deben High School for their second reunion in five years on Saturday night.

Lyndsey Reichenbacher (or Fray to those who knew her before she married and moved to Germany 23 years ago) had travelled all the way from her home Duren in Germany for the get-together and said nothing would have stopped her from catching up with her old friends.

"I would have come from Timbuktu to be here," the 44-year-old said.

"When I was at school I hated it but now when I think back, it was some of the best times of my life. I come back every year to see my best friends Tina and Carole."

Tina Moss (now White) and Carole Kent (Shaw) were thrilled to see their old school pal but all three were trying to hold back the tears at the fact that the fourth member of their gang Yvonne Wink was not there. Yvonne was at their last reunion but died earlier this year.

"We've been mates since primary school at Maidstone Road," said Tina, who still lives in Felixstowe in Vicarage Road.

The 45-year-old told of her memories of the strict teachers who governed the school with a firm hand.

"There used to be the cane or the slipper," she said. "I got reprimanded for smoking at 15. I got a telling off and threatened with the cane across my knuckles. I had the cigarettes in my knickers in a little pocket and the deputy head searched me. I was looking after them for the girls."

Paul Doughty, who like many of his classmates has remained in Felixstowe and now lives in Wentworth Drive, also had memories of punishment at his old school.

"The first day at middle school I met the head and got the cane. It was really sore," said the 45-year-old.

"I had started knocking down the old pig-sties on the playing fields with a sledge hammer left by the builders."

Felixstowe dock supervisor Mr Doughty told of a teacher with his own strange form of punishment - a slipper with "Fred" chalked on it in mirror writing.

"One of the teachers wrote "Fred" on the back of a plimsoll in chalk and would make you bend over and smack you so it left the name "Fred" on your trousers. If someone misbehaved he would write it back-to-front on the plimsoll."

Clint Warren, 45, now a roofer in Walton, said his most poignant memory of school was leaving it.

"I remember getting expelled and I remember jumping out of the window," he said. "At about 14 or 15 I got asked to leave for hitting a teacher."

Mr Warren said the teacher had grabbed his shoulder from behind and he struck out with his elbow but had not known it was a teacher.

"I had the cane a few times for smoking and bunking off school," he said, remembering how he listened to heavy metal and reggae during his schooldays.

Liz Clark (now Backhouse), one of the organisers of the event, said she was one of the rare few who loved school, even at the time.

"I can always remember that I went to school every day and enjoyed it. I was one of those odd people who thoroughly enjoyed going to school because of the teachers and the general atmosphere but I never met anyone who enjoyed it as much as me."

Sally Abbott (now Roach) had travelled over from her home in Cambridge for the reunion where photos and newspaper cuttings of her teenage success were pinned up on the wall for her old classmates to see. Sally's star memory was of travelling to Buckingham Palace to collect her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award from a Prince who was much shorter than she expected.

Sally, who is 44, spent around four years working for the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards at school in Felixstowe and has happy memories of the range of activities she completed to gain them from renovating a Warwickshire canal to working at a club for people with hearing impairments in Ipswich.

"Buckingham Palace was exciting but what surprised me was how small the Duke of Edinburgh was," she said.

Teachers Mr Drew and Olive Riches put hours of work into helping school pupils such as her to gain her awards, she said.

ARE you planning a reunion? If so contact The Evening Star newsdesk by post, fax or e-mail.

Send you letters to Old School Ties, Evening Star Newsdesk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN. Fax us on 01473 225296 or e mail the following:

starnews@ecng.co.uk

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