Golden anniversary for former City of Norwich School pupils

Ex pupils of CNS travelled from far and wide to attend a recent reunion, as Derek James discovers

So what have you been up to – during the past 50 years!

Former pupils of City of Norwich School, from this country and abroad, had a lot of catching up to do when they gathered for a golden anniversary celebration weekend.

And they also gave the school a hand.

They 'came home' from all over this country and from abroad for a very special weekend to mark 50 years since they had taken their O-levels and moved on.

The reunion was such a success thanks to a hard-working committee which had spent months and months tracking them all down and organising events in the city to make sure it would be a weekend to remember.

And how did it go?

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Remarkable. Heartwarming. Life-changing. Wonderful. Perfect. Just some of the responses from the former pupils and teachers who took part.

The weekend kicked-off with an 'ice-breaker' at the Ribs of Beef public house in Norwich, hosted by mine host Roger Cawdron, himself one of the old boys from the 1956 intake who took their O-levels in 1961, fifty years ago to the month.

The following day it was back to school with guided tours and then a spot of 'speed-updating', when the old boys had three minutes to talk about their life following CNS.

The afternoon session was absorbing as old boys and teachers spoke about school days and their lives since.

One teacher, Nigel Bumphrey, who taught woodwork has become an expert silversmith, while old boy Stephen Rowlinson, who played in the school orchestra, has travelled the world with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Another, Barry Buttifant, has spent the past 30 years in Hong Kong and is now a Chinese citizen and chief executive officer of seven listed Hong Kong corporations, while old boy Richard Scotcher lectured in linguistics at St Andrew's University.

In the evening, the CNS Jazz Band, composed of current pupils, entertained their hosts at a hog roast and one of the highlights was the presentation of an award from 'The Old Boys of 1961' to the chairman of the governors, Dr Lucinda (Polly) Poliakoff.

The school has recently reintroduced a House system and the trophy for the CNS Best House award is a hand holding a house. The unique trophy was crafted by Dereham sculptor Neal French, who has an exhibition of his work in the Hostry at Norwich Cathedral from July 20.

The weekend ended with an open-top bus tour of the city, followed by a river cruise.

'The most rewarding aspects of our reunion was the comradeship, enthusiasm and high spirits among people who had not seen each other for 50 years,' said Adrian O'Dell, one of the organisers.

'There's a lot of interest in maintaining contact and we hope to do that in the future. There are still about 40 old boys we have been unable to trace, so please get in touch if you are in that group,' added Adrian, who can be reached on 01362 637033, or email