Well, we did it! The first Stouts Hill reunion since the school closed just over thirty years ago. I can say that I was pleased with the way the day went and how much those of you who attended the event enjoyed it too. I think everybody considered it to have been a worthwhile exercise.
The planning over the past ten months or so had gone smoothly with Stouts Hill Resort being most helpful and letting us have the three rooms and a staffed bar for very reasonable rates. Thanks go to Maureen, the resort manageress, for making it happen. My biggest concern was parking, but with dry weather in the week running up to the 16th meant we could use the field and not inconvenience those in residence.
Shopping for the buffet was done the day before by myself and my sister Lesley and stored in the fridges and freezer at Stouts Hill meaning we didn't have to get up quite so early on the Sunday. Many of you sampled Richard Evans' very kind contribution of wines from the bar. I must also thank Richard for his wife's help in the kitchen in preparing the buffet.
First to arrive was Robin Duncan sporting his boyhood cap. In fact there was several other items of uniform on display including various straw boater hats, 'Old Boy' ties and a scarf. I had brought my tie but wasn't brave enough to put it on until realising I wouldn't look too daft in putting it on.
Arrivals were steady after midday with Sue and Anthony Cromie walking to the school to greet others as they arrived. Their daughter Sarah came along too. Other staff present were Paddy Scott Clark and her sister Jane, John and Christine Flood and a later visit by Chris Coley. Some of us only had a few miles to travel, but some hardy souls travelled from Yorkshire, London, West Wales and to show true commitment Miles Wachter and his wife came back from holiday in Devon for the day!
Sadly, quite a few who had said they would attend didn't make it for whatever reason. They missed a great day! I made an effort to try and record all who attended. Here is the 'register' for the 16th August. Sorry if I missed anybody out.
Robert Darrel & elder brother (sorry, didn't get your first name!)
Douglas Edwards (Jan '42 to July '47!)
John George Phillips
Apologies: Christopher Clift, John Morris, Richard Madley, John Corps, Justin Tugwell and Tony Thomas (music teacher)
Also, there were wives, partners and a small collection of (well behaved) children who enjoyed the visit. I think the most popular observation was how pretty the location was and what a splendid building to have as a school. There was the opportunity to have a look around the grounds to see how the place has changed over the past thirty years.
One thing that pleased me more than anything was how most really made a day of it! I was expecting departures from 3 p.m. and as such made sure we had a group photograph. However, this proved to be only an interlude and everyone seemed to carry on reminiscing for a good couple of hours afterwards.
Needless to say, the question was raised as to when it was going to happen again. As I had only planned for this to happen just the once, I was slightly shocked, but the enthusiasm was certainly there. I think it could be a possibility in the summer of 2011.
Several very generous individuals did ask me to let them know if I was out of pocket in financing the reunion. I think I managed to collect from everybody a contribution, with some donating more. As such I managed to pay all expenses and was left with a small profit! As mentioned above, if we are to do this again sometime then I can simply 'carry over' the balance.
Thank you all once again for making this reunion the success it certainly was and to those who have sent e-mails and 'phone calls of thanks to me over the last few days.