Radio stars caused mayhem at school

WHEN Womblemania came to town, it certainly wasn’t popular with our headmaster.

All the school poured out to get autographs, posters, stickers and other freebies, as the then popular litter-campaigners-turned-popstars visited Radio Orwell.

It was mayhem.

I remember headmaster Harold Cadwallader being less than pleased that hundreds of his pupils abandoned lessons to cavort with Wombles right outside the school door.

He shouted in the street – memory tells me he had a megaphone – urging us to get back to classes at once.

It was a regular occurrence during the mid-70s. On another occasion, Marc Bolan was at the radio station doing an interview.

Once again pupils decided seeing the T Rex superstar and risking detention – or the slipper or cane – was more beneficial than metalwork or maths.

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As the crowd gathered at the front of the building chanting for Marc, a friend and I decided he was more likely to leave by the back door.

To our delight he did – stopping to say hello, before jumping into a limo with smoke-glass windows.

The crowd at the front refused to believe us when we announced he had gone. We left them to it.

Yes, I am a survivor of Tower Ramparts Secondary Modern, the original school of hard knocks.

Born in Bury St Edmunds, I had high hopes of going to the glamorous-sounding County Upper School or King Edward VI.

But then we moved to Ipswich and Tower Ramparts it was – until our final year when we spent part of the time in the town centre and the remainder at the new Stoke High. Same staff, same kids – just a different venue and a new moniker.

My memories of Tower Ramparts include blowing up Mr Cheadle’s kiln with a tortoise, of which he reminded me a few years ago. I failed to put a hole in the underside of my pottery model – hence when the air inside heated up, it exploded, killing all the other tortoises.

My only memory of Stoke High was a prank we played on our French teacher Mr Samuels.

When he was called out of the room to deal with a matter of urgency, we all climbed out of the windows (the room was on the ground floor) and crouched out of sight. He returned, shouted: “Where have they gone!” and left the room again. At which point, we climbed back in and sat at our desks, working. The look on his face when he came back was a real treat.