Class of ’66 reunion planned

A photograph from Bognor Regis Grammar School, taken in May 1967
A photograph from Bognor Regis Grammar School, taken in May 1967

School friends from a unique year in Bognor Regis are planning a 50-year reunion.

The Class of ’66 was special because it was the last academic year that William Fletcher School and Bognor Regis Grammar School had an intake as two separate schools.

Do you remember any of these faces?

Do you remember any of these faces?

The next year, they were combined as Bognor Regis Comprehensive during largest expansion of comprehensive schools in this country.

Bryan Gartside, who is well known for the former End of the Pier International Film Festival, is organising the reunion to celebrate this milestone year.

He said: “One of my main interests is the effect the comprehensive system had on education.

“I would like to find out more about the ups and downs of the system. The only way we are going to do that is to get in touch with our old teachers and that would be the icing on the cake.

“I would like to know what their experiences were and what they are doing now. We have got a lot of people interested already but would like to get more on board.

“I have tried a number of ways but I have had trouble getting pictures from the archives. That is another thing we would like to source.”

William Fletcher, where Bryan went, was a secondary modern. The grammar school, where his brother went, became the lower school of the new comprehensive.

Bryan had left Bognor by the time he was 20 but came back in 2001 and bought a house here. He had not had contact with anyone from school for years but a friend in France suggested a reunion and a small one was organised in about 2004.

Then, more recently, Bryan found a photograph of the year-two rugby team and posted it on Facebook.

“I was in the team and I could name every single guy, going back 49 years. I had quite a bit of reaction,” he said.

“A lot of people who were in this intake are living abroad.

“A friend from school, Victor Coutin, could remember so many names, so we pooled our resources and drew up a list of about 100 names, which has now grown to 140.

“He lives in Dubai so the reunion is timed for when Victor is back over here.”

A Facebook page called Bognor 66 Reunion has been set up it is hoped people will sign up to share their photos and memories ahead of the event so a display can be put together.

Fellow classmates will be gathering at Newtown Social Club, in Greencourt Drive, Bognor Regis, on Saturday, April 29, from 7pm to 11pm. Email Bryan Gartside at bryangartside@rocketmail.com or telephone 07718988111 for more information.

It is not restricted to the Class of ’66 – anyone who was at the schools at the time would be welcome.

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