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2010 : 40-Year Reunion Review

40-Year Reunion for the Class of 1964-69 

Was it some macabre fascination that attracted 14 of us to attend a Reunion organised by Des Calnan and James Wheeler? After all, most of us had not seen each other for 40 years and Father Time was not going to turn a blind eye to deterioration – well, not in my case.

For my part, there were other emotions going on too – what the hell have I done with the last forty years? Have I made the best of them?  Probably not.  Have I made a load of mistakes?  Certainly yes.  Did I want to share these with individuals who I had not seen for a lifetime?  Ah, now that was the big question.   Was I going to be the Pete Best – the 5th Beatle – the one who didn’t really make the most of his opportunity?

We were meeting at a critical time too – all of us being in our 60th year.  Either we had done it, as it were – or we had not.  Would we be basking in glories, or muttering regrets?  It was an evening that had all the potential of welcoming you like a fixed smile.  Some, understandably, avoided it.

The fact that we met at all was down to the energy and downright perseverance of Desmond Calnan and James Wheeler!  Retracing individuals after all this time would have been a tricky project even for Poirot.  But through a combination of social media, ex-wives phone numbers, unpaid betting dues and unreturned library book statistics, Des and James managed to track down and persuade 14 of us to meet in a champagne bar off Regent Street.  That man James Wheeler always did know how to throw a good party!

And one by one we entered.  Some of us had come from far afield, like Louis Farrugia, all the way from Malta.  Others from close by – Robert Dory had just left his club in Pall Mall!  And, honestly, we all looked more or less the same – give or take a little fraying round the edges, a loss of hair or increased girth.  But what was really extraordinary – should it be? – the characteristics of each personality were still the same. Claude Keith was still ebullient, Tony Green still optimistic, John Weguelin still tall and urbane and Johnny Harben still funny and easy company.  Well why wouldn’t they be you might ask?

Luckily for us the champagne was on James and we were soon swapping stories without a trace of guilt or regret.  It was just terrific to see others such as Tim Belson, Carl Kirby-Turner, Januz Heath, Chris Peck and Mark Williams.  We were also joined by Father Kevin and Keith “Beef” Owers who both looked in terrific shape and form.

We stayed late, we drank plenty and all agreed that we couldn’t wait another forty years to do it again.  Des was terrific and gave an excellent speech to the entire restaurant (whether they wanted to listen or not!) but our table appreciated it.  Sadly, Michael Breen died a few years ago and he was remembered, as were others, who have fallen off the radar.

Looking back, it is extraordinary to think that we grew up at Worth while the Swinging sixties raged on around us – the music, the fashion, the wars, the politics, moon landings and World Cup wins. However, these were memories that didn’t enter our thoughts that evening.  Instead, Claude reminded me how I had got him out at a house cricket match, those were the important things then, and just for that evening, they were the only details we cared about!

Jason Squire (R’68)