Former pupils flock to Harpenden school as it celebrates 70th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 July 2010

Vanessa Smith nee Tims looking at a team picture which she is in dating back to her school days, with Jacqui Warren nee Bradford. Both students of 1985 to 1990.

Vanessa Smith nee Tims looking at a team picture which she is in dating back to her school days, with Jacqui Warren nee Bradford. Both students of 1985 to 1990.

Archant

HUNDREDS of former pupils of a Harpenden secondary school joined staff and students to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

Alumni of Sir John Lawes School travelled from as far afield as Devon and Cornwall, Lancashire and the Isle of Wight for the day of celebration which included a hog roast, barbecue, a Pimms stand and bar and various entertainment.

There were also further congratulatory messages from the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

Among the alumni at the celebration held at the school in Manland Way were some of the first-ever students to attend the school back in the early 1940s. The earliest was Jean Fall (nee Gilmour) who attended the school from 1939 to 1942 and remembered a German fighter swooping down and firing his machine gun at students who were in the allotments to the side of the school where they grew their own food.

Fortunately, the fighter missed but Jean recalled parents from the surrounding houses and nearby running up to school to see if everything was okay.

There were a number of former students from the 1940s at the event who sat together in one of the old classrooms to talk about old times. Photo archives were available to view in the library.

Also among the guests was the Mayor of Harpenden, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles who spent his time talking with guests and staff.

During the afternoon, children played giant Connect Four and giant Jenga and took part in games of rounders while a cricket match took place between staff and a group of ex-students from the eighties which resulted in a draw. The old boys then took on a team of current students and were well beaten by the younger generation.

School spokesperson Chris Wright said: “The event was a huge success and it was fantastic to see people reunited with old friends and sharing all their memories. It was a really fun day and one that people shall remember for a long time.”

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