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Former Caterham Valley County Secondary School holds class reunion

By Tandridge Mirror  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

  • Caterham Valley Central Secondary School pictured in the 1950s

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THE days of ink wells and blackboards have been recalled at a Caterham school – 48 years on.

Former pupils travelled from as far afield as the USA and France to attend the reunion of the former Caterham Valley County Secondary School.

Recollections of the days of fountain pens, the cane and regulation navy blue knickers were revived when 18 ex-students – who were in the fifth grade in 1964 – returned on November 10.

Much has changed since then, not least that the school in Croydon Road merged with de Stafford School, also in Caterham, in 1968 and is now Marden Lodge Primary School.

The once fresh-faced children have gone on to have a diversity of careers, and many have raised families and had grandchildren.

Among those who attended were Christopher Halliday, who is now a vicar near Manchester; retired banker Roger Cotterell; architect Lawrence Wiggins; and primary school headmistress Shelagh McEvoy. Raymond Ginsbury even flew over from Vermont in America, where he runs his own construction firm.

A former teacher Miss Alison Wilson (pictured in the middle row) was also in attendance.

Their special day included guided tours of the school by Lauraine Nichols, who is the current bursar at Marden Lodge.

The event was organised by former pupil Steve West (pictured back row, second left) who used to live in Croydon Road, near the school, and then in Hillbury Road, Warlingham.

Now a 64-year-old retired flight simulator technician who lives in Somerset, he said: "The reunion was a terrific success, with many memories rekindled and lost friendships reformed.

"A former pupil tracked down a copy of the original school hymn Glad Hearts Adventuring, which was played to the group.

"Not one person could remember all the words, and some could not even remember that there had been a school hymn!"

Back in 1983, Mr West arranged the original reunion.

It was attended by 38 of the 44 students in his year, as well as five members of staff, including headmaster Richard "Butch" Howell.

Since then, most of the staff, including Mr Howell, have died.

Among ex-pupils who attended the original reunion was Tony Gomez.

He was a keyboard player with chart band The Foundations who had a number one hit with Build Me Up Buttercup.

Mr West told the Mirror: "I tried to trace Tony for the latest reunion but had no joy at all.

"I got in contact with the present-day members but none of them knew where he was.

"I can only imagine he went back to Sri Lanka, where his family originally came from."

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