Girl’s school reunion 50 years on

School reunion SUS-170709-084720001
School reunion SUS-170709-084720001

Fifty years ago, in 1967, a raggle-taggle group of friends sat their final A-level exams at what was then the Hasting High School for Girls (headmistress, Miss De Gruchy), and went their separate ways.

One of that group, Anne Beech, was involved, with her former classmates, in returning to Hastings to enjoy a reunion.

School reunion SUS-170709-084731001

School reunion SUS-170709-084731001

She explained: “Last Saturday, many of that same group gathered to mark that 50th anniversary – and to remember the truanting, the mischief and the frankly fantastic education we’d ‘endured’ that enabled many of us to go on to university, teacher-training college, art school, medical school, musical conservatoire.

“Without knowing it, we’d been given a belief in ourselves that has served us well over the years: as doctors, teachers, publishers, technicians, architects, wives, mothers, grandmothers.

“We met on the ‘new’ pier, because many of us had been habitués of its predecessor – and remembered seeing the Rolling Stones et al in the early to mid sixties.

“We also remembered the Mods vs Rockers rumble in 1966, when the rest of the town was trying to celebrate a larger and much earlier battle 900 years before.

“Some of us used to slip away from school early on a Friday to go up to live studio recordings of Ready Steady Go (Google, younger readers, and wonder at a time when bands like the Beatles and the Kinks and the Who played live in a small studio off the Strand just inches away from their fans without a bouncer in sight).

“So now we’re older, a bit rustier (some of us at least), not always wiser, and not entirely respectable, but when we meet, we pick up the pieces of conversations that started over fifty years ago – and just carry on.

“As we did last weekend, helped by unexpectedly glorious weather, and the best sort of care and attention from the wonderful Pavilion restaurant staff, who patiently took pictures and - to be honest – indulged us.

“We didn’t exactly misbehave - but it was tempting.

“So much about Hastings has changed in the last fifty years (gulp) – as have we.

“But it felt good to be back, to celebrate where we came from, what gave us our start, and to remember the good times (and the bad) in a town that shaped us all.

“Saturday was another memory that we’ll add to the treasure trove we’ve already accumulated. Mostly thanks to the good old Hastings High School for Girls. As was.

Driving back to London, I think I spotted the word ‘Academy’ on the school’s fascia. I didn’t look back.

Hastings High School for Girls was on the Ridge and became what is now Helenswood.

Pictured above are Kate King, Marjorie Brint (nee Hewitt), Suzanne DeHavilland, Anne Beech, Anne Green, Rosie Parry (nee Ede) and Alison Evans (nee Bridger).