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Ex-pupils say 'Happy birthday, Mr Ward!'

PUBLISHED: 11:37 27 January 2015

Former pupils at Heigham House school in Norwich from 1958 until 1961 gather to celebrate Peter Ward’s 90th birthday.

Left to right: Jill Stolworthy (nee Pelham), Janet Metcalf (McCabe), Margaret Wilkens (Murray), Sheila Goodwin (Chittock). Seated: Pat Crisp (Mallett), Peter Ward and Pat Knights (Dyer)

Former pupils at Heigham House school in Norwich from 1958 until 1961 gather to celebrate Peter Ward's 90th birthday. Left to right: Jill Stolworthy (nee Pelham), Janet Metcalf (McCabe), Margaret Wilkens (Murray), Sheila Goodwin (Chittock). Seated: Pat Crisp (Mallett), Peter Ward and Pat Knights (Dyer)

Archant

Happy Birthday Sir!

Second Opinion's final gig at Acle Social Club, which ended a 40-year career.Second Opinion's final gig at Acle Social Club, which ended a 40-year career.

More than half a century after they left the school where he taught, pupils from Heigham House in Norwich took their favourite teacher out for a celebration lunch.

It was a wonderful gesture which illustrates so well how we never forget our teachers and the role they play in developing our lives.

Peter Ward taught these “girls” between 1958 and 1961 when they left Heigham House. He also taught at St Thomas More RC school and will be remembered with affection by all those who attended the schools over the years.

“We all decided to take him out for lunch to celebrate his 90th birthday. He was an excellent and popular teacher and is still very bright,” said Janet Metcalfe (McCabe) who was joined by Jill Stolworthy (Pelham), Pat Crisp (Mallett), Sheila Goodwin (Chittock), Pat Knights (Dyer) and Margaret Wilkins (Murray).

"More!": Some of the enthusiastic crowd at Second Opinion's final gig at Acle Social Club.

They had made contact with Mr Ward again after organising reunions for Willow Lane, Heigham House and St Thomas More schools which have rekindled so many friendships.

The three Roman Catholic schools in Norwich were linked over the years, educating thousands of boys and girl.

Heigham House operated from the West Pottergate home of the first Lord Mayor of Norwich Dr Ernest Blyth, who was a man who devoted much of his life to improving education standards in the city.

It opened in 1939 and developed into a secondary modern school for boys and girls. It became known as St Thomas More and a new school opened.

Second Opinion bow out in style

It was a great sell-out farewell tour by a Norfolk pop group which has entertained tens of thousands of people over the past 40 years.

Second Opinion played at Seacroft Holiday Village, Freethorpe Sports and Social Club, Toftwood Social Centre and Shipdham WI Hall before finishing at Acle Social Club.

“When we finally left the stage the club was still packed with people asking for more,” said founder member and front man Mel Holman.

Four fans flew in from Spain and others travelled from across East Anglia for the final concert.

“We all agreed it was the best night of our long musical careers. It will live with us forever,” he added.

Mel wants to thank everyone for their support over the years and especially compere Mim Bedding along with Fred Colk and Jimmy Simpson from Acle United for making their last gig so special.

“We had about 200 pupils and I believe they were the best behaved children in the whole of Norwich. They always respected other people,” said Mr Ward.

It was St Thomas More headmaster Jack Rudden who hit the headlines in 1960 when he asked parents not to allow their children to arrive at school in “jerseys dedicated to pop singers, high-heeled shoes, ballerina skirts and other teenage aberrations.”

Then eight years later headmistress Miss P B Delahan said: “May I suggest that dads should see their sons get value for money at the barbers and that mothers should notice the length, or lack of length, of their daughters’ skirts.”

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