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2010 : 20-Year Reunion Review

20-Year reunion for the Class of 1985-90

The memories came flooding back as soon as we arrived at Three Bridges where we were met by two Barkers taxis (sadly there was no Mrs Blake there to meet us but a 50-year old taxi driver known as ‘Hotty’!).

At first glance, the School seemed more or less the same as when we had left it.  But, as we all know, first impressions can be very deceiving!

On arrival in the front quad, we were met by Olivia Henley and some more of our peers and then quickly moved through to the Cowdray Room where we were joined by Abbot Kevin, Fr James, Fr Luke, Keith Owers, Paul Miller and Jeremy Dowling; with a special guest appearance from Fr Charles – all on very fine form.

Having got over our initial disappointment at not being issued with vouchers for the consumption of alcoholic drinks; the reminiscing began and the tone was set for a marvellous afternoon catching up with some of our former teachers, each other and changes at the school.  Any initial reservations about who might or might not be there quickly dissipated and drinks flowed into lunch.  Fortunately for all of us, food standards have improved dramatically and pupils no longer need to consider repeating the ‘ban gammon’ campaign which remains our year’s principal achievement.

After lunch Fr Luke and Fr James treated us to a tour of the School.  How things have changed in the last twenty years!  Finally the piles of bricks and steel beams, which had been lying in wait outside the church for the duration of our years at Worth, had given way to further accommodation.  There were significant on-going works to the Abbey Church, but the Narthex retained the same air and indeed the very same smell about it.

We were shown the extremely impressive Performing Arts Centre with its theatre-style seating and array of professional AV equipment; an upgraded gym 1 where we witnessed a fencing match in action.  Continuing back up the hill, we passed the rather forlorn ‘cardboard castle’ and visited the sports hall which has changed very little, apart from the addition of the promised squash courts and 5-aside pitch (which necessitated an impromptu game between us Worthians and the incumbent pupils .  For the record, we Worthians won 1–0!).

We then headed for the Patrick Lamb Centre on the front lawn above the tennis courts – a sympathetically designed building that houses the sixth form boys, a truly fantastic addition to the School.  Suffice to say, gone are the communal showers and Argos pool tables!

After spending a few poignant moments in the Monk’s cemetery toasting absent friends, including brothers, Alex and Rorie Duncan, we concluded our tour and said our farewells.

Needless to say, the day would never have been complete without a visit to the Cowdray Arms – where the stragglers concluded the day’s frolics.

For any of you out there who might be apprehensive about assisting in the co-ordination, or even attending such a reunion – I urge you to put any worries or prejudices aside and commit to helping and/or attending.  We all had a truly marvellous and very memorable day.

It was such a great idea to hold the event at the School as so much has changed and yet so much remains the same.  Seeing the School, and each other, twenty years later is a very rewarding experience.

Our special thanks to Olivia for all her hard work in getting the reunion off the ground and bringing us all together; to Simon Gabriel for his persistence in getting us there and getting the day superbly organised; to the catering staff for preparing such a delicious lunch and serving us with great humour;  to Sean Severi for quietly snapping away throughout the day with his camera;  to Kevin and Mel for being, well – Kevin and Mel!  And last but by no means least, our sincere thanks to the Monks and Staff who so generously gave up part of their weekend to join us, show us around the school and share with us their memories of our time at School – truly, the day would not have been so memorable without your presence.

Roll on the next time!

Charlie Gerada (R’90)