School tales at reunion

IT WAS a blast from the past for more than 200 former pupils of Ipswich's Westbourne Secondary Modern School who came together for a reunion.

IT WAS a blast from the past for more than 200 former pupils of Ipswich's Westbourne Secondary Modern School who came together for a reunion.

The organisers of the reunion, which included Fred Girling, Keith Dowsing, George Calver, and Sheila Matuszczyk (nee Goddard), have vowed to hold another one next year.

Past pupils who attended the school on Marlow Road, now known as Westbourne High School, between 1939 and 1955, were invited to meet and greet old friends.

Mr Girling, 72, from the Maidenhall area of town, said: “It went really well and was a great success.

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“We had a book that people signed at the end to see if they wanted another one next year and everyone was up for it.

“We have spent the last year organising this. I found people a lot of people through the internet.

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“We want to thank so many people that helped out. My wife, Marion, George's wife, Sheila, and Linda, who did the food, Nigel Wheeler, the compere for the evening, and the band Chris and The Binmen for their performance. I also want to thank Neville Grant, who has chauffeured me around for the past year to organise this event because I don't drive anymore.”

Everyone was asked to pay £5 a head as a contribution to the overall costs of the reunion and the remaining money will be put towards next year's event.

N Are you holding a school reunion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Name: Fred Girling

Age: 72

Lives: Maidenhall

After school: Did a five-year apprenticeship in the building trade then joined the Navy as part of national service. He then became a policeman.

Now: Retired

He said: “When you leave school, you go in different directions.

“I had not seen two of my old neighbours, which were also school friends, since I was ten years old, so seeing them again was very weird. There was even a millionaire at the reunion.”

Name: Keith Dowsing

Age: 72

Lives: Norwich

After school: Did an apprenticeship in a men's outfitters company and went on to work in the industry, including becoming a manager at shop C&A.

Now: Retired.

He said: “It was fantastic. There were so many memories. A lot of people recognised me, including old girlfriends. It was weird to see everyone again after such a long time.”

Name: Sheila Matuszczyk (nee Goddard)

Age: 72

Lives: Ipswich

After school: Worked for the Co-op and started training as a nurse but stopped when she married.

Now: Retired

She said: “We have had a lot of reports saying how good it was. Things are very different now than they were then.

“The girls and boys had separate playgrounds and we weren't allowed to even speak to the boys.”

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