A quizzical look back at the Bowthorpe school

Derek JamesMagical memories of Bowthorpe have been sparked by news of the first big reunion for the pupils of the popular Norwich school which closed almost 20 years ago.Derek James

Magical memories of Bowthorpe have been sparked by news of the first big reunion for the pupils of the popular Norwich school which closed almost 20 years ago.

Former boys and girls will be gathering at Carrow Road next months to remember the good times and help two charities at the same time.

And Anna Bentley thought these photographs from the late 1970s would help to bring revive a lot of happy memories of the days when the played a major part of so many young lives.

Anna was a pupil between 1976 and 1981 and says: 'Bowthorpe was a good school for me, but now it's gone, except in the minds of those who remember it.

'Earlham is the local school now, recently promoted to Academy status. They were our arch rivals then, though I'm sure we must have gone to the same chip shop,' she said.

During that time there were around 1,000 pupils at the comprehensive school which was a hive of activity with students playing a leading role in city life.

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Anna (that's her on the right) along with Julie Mucklestone and Peter Gallagher represented Bowthorpe in Chatterbox, the Anglia TV quiz show for schools across the Eastern Counties, hosted by Chris Kelly - remember him? He was always popping up on Anglia quiz shows such as Cross Cross Quiz and others.

He is on the left in this picture taken during one show and do you recognise the chap with the hair and the big glasses standing at the back?

It's none other than Giles Brandreth, actor, author, broadcaster, former MP, host and after dinner-speaker.

A man of many talents and a man many of you will know him nowadays from his regular spots on The One Show, on BBC1 during the week at 7pm.

And the fellow on the right is a man so many of us grew up listening to on the radio and watching on a string of TV shows - the legendary Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart.

The woman was Betty Mulcahy, a former drama teacher, author, poet and worldwide lecturer who made sure contestants stuck to the rules.

Christopher Starling, writing in the Bowthorpe magazine of 1979, about the day at Anglia Studios in Norwich said: 'We settled into the masses of seats and surveyed the intriguing sights.

'Between 50 and 100 lights loomed down on us from rails along the ceiling and the cameras swivelled and moved like robots. The background that looked so neat on television was just bits of board propped up.

'One of the panel, a mad comedian-author called Giles Brandreth, introduced himself and other members of the panel. We were issued with autographed programmes and instructions telling us when to clap. The guest panellist was Rolf Harris,' wrote Christopher.

Teams from Bowthorpe and a school in Cambridgeshire were up against each other. Each contestant had to speak on a prepared subject for one minute and then on an object revealed before them on which they had to make up a story lasting 30 seconds.

'At the end we needed exactly 21 points from 30 to win. Betty Mulcay awarded just that and so we won by a single point,' said Christopher.

And Anna also found this picture of Bowthorpe School winning the fourth Norwich inter-schools' crime prevention quiz beating CNS in the final back in April of 1977.

In the picture the Chief Constable of Norfolk Gordon Taylor is presenting the trophy to the winning team of, left to right, Stephen day, Anna Bentley, David Simmons and Fenalla Smith (captain).

Happy days

Watch this space for more Bowthorpe School pictures - especially if you were a bee in The Beeples. I have a great picture of the whole cast.

It's going to be a great night so why not made it a date.

The reunion for all the Bowthorpe boys and girls from the 1970s and 80s is taking -place in the Russell Allison Lounge at Carrow Road on Saturday May 15 at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost �10 and money raised will be going towards Big C and to help children with diabetes.

For more details call Tracy Parkman on 07900 462708 or click on www.bowthorpeschoolreunion.co.uk