Final fairwell for Matlock’s class of ‘46

The Old Baileans at their final reunion on July 2 at the Temple Hotel, Matlock Bath (L-R Back): Geoff Bawcutt, Alice Twigg (nee Carson), Jean Bawcutt, Esme Oldrini (nee Buck), Mary Crowder (nee Bradbury), Alan Crowder, Brian Goodall, Gordon Toplis, George Holloway, Jean Turner (nee Greatorex), Adrian Wright (Front): Enid Goodall (nee Rawson), Joy Vearnals, June Holloway, Gillian Wright (nee Brown).

The Old Baileans at their final reunion on July 2 at the Temple Hotel, Matlock Bath (L-R Back): Geoff Bawcutt, Alice Twigg (nee Carson), Jean Bawcutt, Esme Oldrini (nee Buck), Mary Crowder (nee Bradbury), Alan Crowder, Brian Goodall, Gordon Toplis, George Holloway, Jean Turner (nee Greatorex), Adrian Wright (Front): Enid Goodall (nee Rawson), Joy Vearnals, June Holloway, Gillian Wright (nee Brown).

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Classmates who left their Matlock school almost 70 years ago and have met each year for the past two decades have said a final fairwell.

The class of Old Baileans, members of the fifth form who left in 1946, started having an annual reunion in 1996 but as they now hit 85, and some of the group have sadly passed away, the band of classmates has decided that this was their final horrah.

Fifth form at Earnest Bailey Grammar School (the boys' class) 1946.

Fifth form at Earnest Bailey Grammar School (the boys' class) 1946.

Brian Goodall, 85, remembers his school days at Earnest Bailey Grammar School with pride. He and wife Enid, also 85, were in the same class together and have been attending the same party for almost 20 years together.

Brian, who now lives in Yarm, North Yorkshire, said: “We didn’t know each other then, and started seeing other when we were 18 and were married in 1952 and eldest daughter, Carolyn, 60, was born in 1954.”

People moved all over, added Brian, who worked as an instruments engineer, but many have kept coming back to visit and met this July at the Temple lodge, matlock Bath.

“We’ve lost four members now and some of us have to travel such long distances – one couple moved to Arizona, and they come back every year. But, sadly this will be the last year that we meet.”

Geoffrey Bawcutt, 85, who now lives in Hertford Heath, said: “It’s sad we won’t be meeting again, it’s great to see old friends coming together once a year, but we just keep dropping off our perches. As the blokes got a bit thinner we decided to add the wives, but now we think it’s time to close it down and go out on a high.”

Geoff grew up on Chesterfield Road and went on to serve in the 58th Medium Regiment of Royal Artillery in County Durham and worked for Kodak in London.

He recalls of the time: “We had quite a good few sports people, cricket and rugby were the school games.

“During the war, you could see the sky lighting up with the raids over Sheffield. We had convoys come through town and there was an intelligence school at Smedley’s Hydro so lots of Dutch, Polish, French troops in uniform wondering around.

“Dirk Bogarde was trained there and I saw him once.”

The class gave a big thank you to Adrian Wright who first organised the reunion and Keith Miles who took over until he died earlier this year.