Reunion boost for local Norfolk charity

The way we were. The Gurney girls from Miss Langley’s 1c class in 1959/60. The photograph belongs to

The way we were. The Gurney girls from Miss Langley’s 1c class in 1959/60. The photograph belongs to Bonnie Drysdale who is 4th from the left on the top row. Jean Kett is 7th from the left on the top row and Diane Smith is 2nd from the left at the top. Do you recognise anyone else? - Credit: Archant

It was a night to remember – a chance to rekindle old friendships and help a much-loved charity the people of Norfolk have taken to their hearts.

The organisers of the Gurney/Henderson school reunion, Jean Wilson (left) and Gwen Munro hand over t

The organisers of the Gurney/Henderson school reunion, Jean Wilson (left) and Gwen Munro hand over the money to help the vital work of Nelson’s Journey. - Credit: Archant

Money raised at a reunion for the Gurney girls and the Henderson boys in Norwich amounted to £507 which was topped by another £133 from members of the Sprowston Sports and Social Club where the get-together was held.

That meant that a cheque for cheque for £640 was handed over to Nelson's Journey, which is bringing back smiles to bereaved children.

Over the years the reunions, first just for the Gurney girls who were later joined by the boys from their neighbouring school, the Henderson, have raised money for various charities and good causes in Norwich and Norfolk.

This time around they wanted to help Nelson's Journey and Sam Maycock, funding and marketing officer said: 'We are so grateful to receive this generous donation following the school reunion. The sum of £600 could fund two bereaved children to attend a therapeutic residential weekend in Sheringham, our highest level of intervention.'

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As well as this, the donation could also help pay for a variety of bereavement books which the charity says is essential in their ongoing one to one work with bereaved children and young people around Norfolk.

'We would like to express our very grateful thanks to all those involved with the Gurney/Henderson reunion for choosing to help Nelson's Journey,' added Sam.

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'It is very heartwarming to receive support from local community groups and it forms a vital part of our annual fundraising,' she said.

The new reunion organisers, Jean Wilson (Kett) and Gwen Munro (Jones), said they were delighted to have been able to help Nelson's Journey and the important work it does with children in the city and county.

It was former Gurney girls Vi Panetta, Margaret Paternoster and then Pat Breeze who ran the reunions for many years – and then invited the boys from the Henderson school, next door, to join them.

The reunions went from strength to strength with the boys and girls from the neighbouring schools finally getting together.

'We had a lovely time at the last reunion in April and it was good to see so many people again,' said Jean.

The Gurney and the Henderson schools opened in Norwich of 1942 – the year of the blitz when hundreds of men, women and children were killed in raids and thousands lost their homes.

There were those who criticised the opening of schools at such a dark time in the life of the city but the pioneering father of education, Fred Henderson, said it was more important than ever to give the next generation a good education in decent surroundings.

Thousands of boys and girls went to the popular schools which eventually merged in 1970. The names then disappeared and the school became known as Bowthorpe. It closed, amid a storm of protest, just over 20 years later.

The memories live on...

For more information on the work of Nelson's Journey click on

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