Classes of 80 and 82 swap school yarns

Memories of broken down buses, being sent home in the snow and hiding board rubbers from teachers all came flowing back.These were just some of the recollections of the classes of 1980 and 1982 at what was then Northgate Grammar School as former classmates from across the globe met up to check out what people have got up to in the 20 years since.

By Jessica Nicholls

Memories of broken down buses, being sent home in the snow and hiding board rubbers from teachers all came flowing back.

These were just some of the recollections of the classes of 1980 and 1982 at what was then Northgate Grammar School as former classmates from across the globe met up to check out what people have got up to in the 20 years since.

It did not take long for the laughter to start as around 100 former classmates met up at the Kesgrave Community Centre on Saturday.


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Some people were so looking forward to the party that they made an effort to come from places including Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland.

Bob Mitchell joined the Royal Navy as soon as he left school and is currently living in Gibraltar.

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He said: "I have been planning to come to the party for months.

"It is quite scary really and I am terrible with names and faces."

Bob was busy trying to rekindle some old memories with a few old mates.

He said: "There has been so much going on in my life over the years that I can't really remember much of school, but I am sure people are going to remind me."

Three people that had no problems remembering their time at school were Natalina Staidno (nee Barone)>, Karen Hey (nee Budge) and Janice Gunby (nee Gorham).

Their laughter could be heard across the hall as they spotted photographs of themselves on their leaving day and memories of that day began to tumble out.

Natalina, who still lives in Ipswich, said: "We went to the shop to get a load of squirty mustard and flour.

"We made such a mess, it was incredible and we all signed each others shirts."

The group reminisced about the jokes they used to play on teachers.

Natalina, 38, said: "There was one teacher who was really short, so we used to put the board rubber on top of the board so she could not reach it."

Back then Northgate School was very different to the way it is now. It was split into a boys and girls grammar school and the two sides did not mix until it all changed in around 1979.

Karen said: "When it was a boys and girls split, the teachers used to patrol the fence so we could not talk to one another."

BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy was also at the reunion.

He said: "It was great because as it was a grammar school we all came from different parts of the town.

"We all used to go on a special bus which would always break down."

The reunion was organised by Sue Woodgate (nee Eden) and Louise Bishop (nee Harvey), who got in touch through the Friends Reunited website.

Sue, who lives in Hornchurch, Essex, e-mailed Louise, who lives in Windsor, after she spotted her idea for the reunion on the website. Louise was organising the event for sixth formers who left in 1982 and Sue joined her to get people along who left in the fifth form in 1980.

Weblink: www.friendsreunited.com

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