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Head meets up for former pupils

PUBLISHED: 00:46 12 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 March 2010

A RETIRED headteacher has met up with former pupils at a surprise party more than four decades after teaching them in classrooms.

Sidney Ling, 88, of Bury Hill Close, Melton, near Woodbridge, and his wife Gwen were invited to lunch at The Crown Hotel by former Colchester Police detective inspector Bob Miller.

A RETIRED headteacher has met up with former pupils at a surprise party more than four decades after teaching them in classrooms.

Sidney Ling, 88, of Bury Hill Close, Melton, near Woodbridge, and his wife Gwen were invited to lunch at The Crown Hotel by former Colchester Police detective inspector Bob Miller.

Mr Miller was one of Mr Ling's pupils at the Richard Alibon School in Dagenham and he arranged for other past pupils to attend a reunion with the headteacher as the guest of honour.

The get-together was arranged through the Friends Reunited website and resulted in some former pupils travelling hundreds of miles to meet Mr Ling.

Geoff Cooper, from Romford, came armed with old photographs and school reports. He was in a class of 37 children in the summer of 1957 and, at the age of nine, was given a glowing report by Mr Ling who wrote: ''Congratulations! Excellent!''

Mr Cooper recalled that he was ''scared stiff'' of Mr Ling. A pupil now living in New Zealand sent a letter telling how Mr Ling always wore a clean white shirt and a tie perfectly arranged, and those attending the lunch said the ex-headteacher was a strong disciplinarian.

To bring back memories of other classmates Mr Miller played a recording of former pupil Keith West's top 10 chart hit in 1968, Excerpt from a Teenage Opera, which was number two and was introduced by Jimmy Saville on Top of the Pops.

Mr Miller, 54, led the hunt for mass murderer Jeremy Bamber who shot his mother, father, sister and twin nephews at the family farmhouse in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, near Maldon. Mr Miller left the school in Dagenham in 1960.

Mr Ling, who has written books about his childhood and schooldays, said: ''I was head of that school with 620 pupils for 17 years until I retired in 1974. It is 40 years ago since I have seen these people and it does not seem like yesterday.''

There is a growing debate over the behaviour of children in primary school and Mr Ling had some forthright views on today's education system and parental responsibilities. ''It is terrible the way schools are going down the hill and it is not helped by parents taking a bad attitude,'' he said.

WEBLINK:

www.friendsreunited.co.uk

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