Those were the days

DAYS gone by was the main topic of conversation at a high school reunion in Ipswich that marked 50 years since the classmates were last together.The class of 1956/57 held a buffet and dance at Suffolk Punch, Norwich Road, in Ipswich, organised by ex-classmates Nigel Cook and Arthur Catling, both 65.

DAYS gone by was the main topic of conversation at a high school reunion in Ipswich that marked 50 years since the classmates were last together.

The class of 1956/57 held a buffet and dance at Suffolk Punch, Norwich Road, in Ipswich, organised by ex-classmates Nigel Cook and Arthur Catling, both 65.

The old school friends lost touch after leaving school when Mr Cook moved to California to be with his mum and sister who both lived there.

However, the pair rekindled their old school friendship via the internet website Friends Reunited.

Since then, they have stayed in touch by e-mail and have been planning a reunion for the past few years.

Their dream finally came true on Friday, July 20 when more than 55 old classmates turned up to the event.

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Mr Cook travelled thousands of miles from California to see his old school mates but said the trip was well worth it.

He said: “Because of our age, it could be the last year we get to do this, you just don't know.

“We all said this is the big fifty and it was well worth the journey.”

Westbourne High School, in Marlow Road, Ipswich, used to be separated between boys and girls, who were taught in separate buildings.

Mr Catling, of Lower Road, Westerfield, near Ipswich, said: “We had an archway in between us which was no mans land and we weren't allowed to whistle or even look at the girls!”

Mr Catling said he can remember taking part in the winter swimming sessions at the Fore Street baths in Ipswich.

He said: “There was no heating in the pools then, we all had to stand beside the pool and the teacher used to come and kick us in one by one and, I'm not kidding, we all used to turn blue in the water!”

Fellow classmate and keen karaoke performer, Eric Minter, played music from the era and the old friends danced the night away to the rock and roll hits.

One of the old school mates who went to the event was Wendy Mitten, who travelled from Nottingham to be at the reunion.

“It was fantastic, I met up with a lot of my school pals who I haven't seen a long time,” she said.

“It was nice to go along to see everybody and now we are waiting for the next one.”

Ms Mitten, 65, moved to Nottingham with her family shortly after leaving school and said she was happy to make the journey to see her old friends.

“I would go to the end of the earth to get there, it was really lovely. I do miss the seaside so I made a weekend of it and stayed in Felixstowe.”

Were you at the reunion? What were your school days like? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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