by David Lloyd-Jones
After 6 months of planning, the Class of ’68 reunion took place on Sunday 23rd September 2001 in the school dining hall.
The search for old boys was greatly assisted by the application of the internet and the availability of the electoral register in digital form. This really was a 21st century style reunion. The initial target list was 129 (original 1968 intake) plus 12 later arrivals bringing the total to 141. By the close of play, 88 had been contacted and accounted for another 6. Another couple of months and we could probably have located the remaining 47. We found that the reunion idea usually received an enthusiastic reception, although a few of our peers made their reluctance to attend quite apparent. Naturally, a few more were unavailable on the chosen date.
A total of 54 “boys” of that school year and 11 former members of staff turned out, to the great relief of the organisers. Some came from distant parts of the UK, but (adopt cheesy Hollywood accent) the award for the greatest distance travelled by an attendee in pursuance of the reunion goes to Mr John “Oily” Campbell, who flew in from Sydney, Australia for the weekend.
Christine Lenihan, the Head of Harrow High School, made a welcoming speech and publicised the school’s Bricks Appeal. (See the home page of this web site for details of the appeal). A buffet was provided by the school’s caterers. The remainder of the afternoon was informal and unstructured.
The atmosphere of the event was remarkable. There was a strong sense of commonality, even amongst those who hadn’t met since leaving the school 25 or more years ago. A quarter of a century was diminished, historic boundaries and rivalries evaporated and distinctions between former high-flyers and under-achievers were levelled. It was particularly pleasing to see that many of the relationships between staff and pupils have been improved by the passing years, but why is it that the staff have aged less than the boys? In particular, Gareth Lloyd-Jones and Richard Tufnell are now 15 years younger than their former pupils.
A frequently heard remark was along the lines of “I was feeling rather nervous about this, but it’s been much easier than I expected.”. Perhaps there’s some encouragement there for any of you who have been invited to other reunions, but are unsure about attending. This reunion was a lively and uninhibited affair that did not suffer from the release of closeted ghosts. Any such spectres present must surely have been exorcised by the positive atmosphere of the day.
When the bell went for end of school, we hurriedly grabbed the wrong coats and rugby kit from the cloakroom and stampeded the first 140 bus we laid eyes on. No, that’s 1971. In 2001, about 20 of us continued the event for a few more hours at The Castle, on Harrow on the Hill. This time we didn’t have to leave our blazers behind a bush in the church yard.
Thanks to Christine Lenihan, and the catering and janitorial staff of Harrow High School for their assistance and support, to Jeff Maynard for his support and use of this web site and to Alex Bateman, the school archivist, who produced an impressive range of photos, programmes and magazines on the day. Thank you also to Geoff Plow who did a terrific job in rounding up an impressive number of teaching staff. A shame Jock and Joe couldn't make it!
Special thanks to Lol Sugar, who was the prime mover of this reunion and made many “difficult” phone calls in pursuing the goal.
Finally, thanks to all who attended, former pupils and staff alike.
One question remains: shall we do it again sometime?
Clive Ian Anderson