Toddington reunion September 18th-19th 2010
by Terry Wilson
28 ex-pupils plus 2 ex-staff gathered at Barns Centre in Toddington, Gloucestershire (PETT Archive) on Saturday September 18th plus Sunday September 19th. Ralph Gee, David Crane, Peter Still & myself archived and scanned Red Hill documents on the Friday & Monday around the reunion. I stayed on to scan documents on Tuesday September 21st. Dr. Craig Fees (archivist) and the staff at Barns Centre made everyone very welcome plus all were extremely helpful. Several showings of "The Unloved" from 1955 were screened throughout the weekend. This BBC play (a drama documentary) has scenes that were shot at Red Hill though the majority was done inside the studio. All characters played by actors - no actual redhillians present! Red Hill is mentioned by name but all people's names are changed. Obvious as to who the staff were supposed to be though. Written and produced by Colin Morris and directed by Gilchrist Calder. Rupert Davies plays Otto Shaw (Mr Manley) and Melvyn Hayes plays the main pupil character of Rolfe. It was very interesting and good for the time it was produced. This film won two awards and was subsequently published in The Television Playwright, plays selected by Michael Barry, in 1960. Click the button for Ralph Gee's review of this film.
The majority of attendees enjoyed dinner at Barns Centre on Saturday evening. An extremely delicious meal was served to all. The choices were roast chicken or beef bourguignonne (with 4 different vegetables), plus fresh fruit or blackberry & apple pie for dessert. Those requiring a vegetarian diet for the main course were easily accommodated.
There is a tremendous volume of material pertaining to Red Hill in the archives - we barely scratched the surface and there is a lot more Red Hill material that has yet to be catalogued. I saw documents, brochures, prospectuses etc that I had not been aware of - as well as known items I had not actually seen before.
Five of us stayed at Barns Centre which has 14 rooms each with 2 beds. Therefore up to 28 can be accommodated but since we were only 5, each of us had a room to ourselves. The back garden is immense and if anyone is keen on camping it is an ideal spot.
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About time I told you how wonderful it was to see everyone at Toddington, had a great time and am still full of so many memories its hard to believe it was so long ago. Thank you so much for organising it and inviting me.
The main purpose of this email is to give a big thank you to you four (Ralph Gee, Peter Still, David Crane, Terry Wilson) who I think were the main movers and shakers behind this occasion. These things are a real bugger to organise so I hope you are justifiably pleased with the turnout and response you got for your efforts.
I enjoyed the Reunion. It was very interesting, especially the long interview I recorded etc . It is also a pleasure to see so many of my era people still attending. Thanks again for all your good work in putting it all together.
May I say thanks, along with all the others, for your excellent organisation of the reunion. It really was a very rewarding two days.
Terry, I congratulate you on the hard work you put into organising the Toddington reunion. I personally enjoyed the day, and the PETT venue. Unfortunately I could not stay for the evening but I hope it went well.
Great do last weekend. I was especially delighted when Prabir turned up. He looked so well - how could he be old enough to have taught an old fogey like me? Anyway, well done on your organisation. Many thanks.
First thanks for arranging the reunion, I can say that Dave Dormand really enjoyed himself and is still on a high from it or at least was when I saw him the following Wednesday.
I risk being repetitive: the re-union was great fun, very interesting and a triumph of organisation on your part; I was overwhelmed with admiration! As for Toddington, well, I think that all of the staff there are doing an essential and very valuable task. As well, they made us all feel very welcome and contributed to the success of the event. The organisation of the site and the accommodation were excellent and only just 'pipped at the post' by the catering and the caterers!
Good to meet up at PETT. I had a nice day. Thank you for all your work in making it happen. I trust the real work on the archive went well.
........speaking of Toddington, that was a really great weekend. Many thanks for organising it. Perhaps we can get some other faces to visit next time. Also great to see you again after 46 years! Hopefully not so long next time, since I doubt either of us will manage to live that long. I mean to spend some more time at Toddington. We barely scratched the surface of what they have there, and the catalogue is nowhere near complete. I guess I'll have to visit as a researcher so Craig can justify his HLF funding for a little longer.
Just wanted to show my appreciation of all the effort you and the others put into the reunion. I know from arranging events for the Institute how difficult and thankless it can be! I thought the atmosphere was excellent. I've never been able to get to one before but really enjoyed it. Pauline was impressed as well.
It was so great to be able to attend on Sunday and meet up with some of the people I had hoped to see again. I am only sorry that I was not able to make the Saturday and meet a few others. It was also great to get the piece that Neill Edwards wrote. I did not quite catch whom he had sent it through so that I could have thanked them. I have also had an email from Neill today which I also much appreciated and will respond presently. Thanks very much for all you have done. I am sure it has been really worthwhile for so many.
I just wanted to say thank you for the effort you put in to set up the reunion this last weekend.
This reunion was for pupils at Red Hill attending prior to the mid 1960s. The conference room area is not large enough for more than 50 people at one time so that is why the Red Hill event was divided into two parts. As this turned out so well we should have another for pupils from the mid 1960s until the closing in 1992. Is there someone out there will be prepared to organise such an event? If so please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org plus Craig Fees at email@example.com - this should be held before the Heritage Lottery funding is scheduled to end in July 2011. The funding may be continued but there is no guarantee. Craig Fees will have to OK the proposed date of this 2nd reunion before going ahead. There is parking for about 25 cars on site.
List of attendees (total 30):
Bore, Jeremy (1962-1966)
Bradshaw, Pete (1962-1967) +wife Pauline
Bragg, David (1948-1953)
Brougham, Chris (1953-1959)
Clark, Roy (1953-1957)
Cleare, Andrew (1951-1958)
Collip, George (1958-1964)
Cousens, John (1948-1951)
Crane, David (1951-1954)
Davies, Chris (1959-1963)
Dormand, David (1961-1964)
Farrell, Peter (son of MOF)
Gee, Ralph (1947-1953)
Haycock, Jim (1944-1946)
Hazelgrove, Jack (Staff 1963-1970)
Hillman, Tony (1958-1961)
Lacey, Mike (1956-1961)
Nandi, Prabir (Staff 1957-1960)
Ormiston, David (1961-1964)
Rogers, John (1947-1951)
Scott, Peter (1946-1949)
Slade, Reginald (1945-1950)
Smith, Bernard (1947-1951) + wife Ann
Smith (now Irving), Michael (1957-1963)
Still, Peter (1961-1966)
Van Dyk, Nigel (1958-1965)
Warren, Mike (1962-1968)
Weir, Paul (1963-1969)
Wilson, Terry (1960-1964)
For pictures taken at other reunions click here to view.