Lift off for Cobholm Primary School centenary celebrations

THE school might have changed beyond recognition but as soon as they crossed the threshold memories came flooding back.

It was the first time classmates David Harman, 88, and Dennis Aldridge, 89, had set foot in the building since they had said goodbye to their last class teacher - Tom Bowles - at what was then Cobholm Boys' School in the mid 1930s.

The old school friends had been reunited for the first time in 75 years last year and were keen to meet up again yesterday to join the school's centenary celebrations.

Retired steam engine driver Mr Harman, of Beccles Road, Gorleston, who proudly recalls 'graduating top of the school', brought along all his old school reports and other records for the occasion.

Retired engineer Mr Aldridge, who now lives in Trendall Road, Norwich, said: 'We can still recognise bits of the school like the corridor.'

Past pupils came from all parts of the county to view a display of old photographs and people's written memories in the hall of the Mill Road school.

Present-day pupils at what became a primary school two years ago after a �2m-plus revamp, were joined in the playground by Great Yarmouth Mayor Barry Coleman and his wife Mary, the mayoress, for a ceremonial balloon release.

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Every pupil had a balloon with their name on and they were released after a noisy countdown.

Mrs Coleman, who had memories of working at Cobholm as a supply teacher, praised the fantastic community atmosphere.

Headteacher Julie Risby said: 'We hope people who find the balloons wherever they turn up will get in touch.'

She said there had been an amazing response from an appeal for people's memories of the school with more than 50 people ringing up and a lot more coming in.

A week of celebrations has included special dance workshops with classes learning dances through the decades; a commemorative mosaic has been made by key stage two children and centenary mugs will be given to every child,

Later in the term, a time capsule with information about the present-day school and centenary celebrations will be buried in the grounds for a future generation of pupils to discover in 50 years time.