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Reunions going from strength to strength

PUBLISHED: 10:46 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:13 07 May 2010

The best reunion so far for the Gurney girls and Henderson boys.

The best reunion so far for the Gurney girls and Henderson boys.

Simply the best… the school reunions that were coming to an end in Norwich have been given a new lease of life. My stories about the glory days of the Gurney School for Girls and the Henderson School for Boys have rekindled friendships after a lifetime apart.

The Gurney girls having a laugh way back in 1956.

Simply the best… the school reunions that were coming to an end in Norwich have been given a new lease of life.

My stories about the glory days of the Gurney School for Girls and the Henderson School for Boys have rekindled friendships after a lifetime apart.

“Boys and girls who haven't seen each other since they were at school together more than 40 years ago have finally meeting up again. It is absolutely marvellous,” said Pat Breeze (Turner).

“The reunion last week was the best ever. We had more than 160 people turn up and far more Henderson boys than ever before this year. It was lovely to see them all having such a good time,” said Pat.

“A lot of them had seen your stories in the Evening News and had decided to come, and it was good to read about the Gurney girls now living in America,” she added.

The reunions were first launched - just for the Gurney girls - by Margaret Paternoster and Vi Panetta, more than 10 years ago. The Gurney and the Henderson both opened at Earlham during the second world war. The schools later joined forces and the name was changed to Bowthorpe.

That school closed, amid a storm of protest, in 1991 and the site has been redeveloped.

Although the buildings have gone, the memories are getting brighter rather than fading, thanks to the reunions.

After a decade, Margaret and Vi announced they were stepping down and the reunions were coming to an end.

Oh no they weren't, said the pupils.

Pat Breeze, helped by Margaret, took over, and the reunions have gone from strength to strength. Earlier this month, former Gurney girls and Henderson boys from the 1940s, 50s and early 60s had a ball at the Chapel Break Community Centre.

“I asked them all whether or not they wanted another one next year. I had thought about leaving it for a year or so, but they all said they wanted another reunion next year, so it will be taking place on January 17 next year,” said Pat.

“Not only was it a fantastic night but we also raised £420 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. That's down to people being so generous,” said Pat.

She has thanked everybody who turned up to make the evening so successful and they have asked me to pass on their thanks to Pat and Margaret for all their hard work.

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