Ex-headmaster, 89, organises reunion at St Stephen and All Martyrs Primary School (From This Is Lancashire)
Ex-headmaster, 89, organises reunion at St Stephen and All Martyrs Primary School
OLD pals were reunited at one of Bolton’s oldest primary schools — thanks to the enthusiasm of a former head teacher.
St Stephen and All Martyrs Primary School, in Darcy Lever, opened its doors to more than 100 ex-students and staff over the weekend as part of a Heritage Open Day.
Norman Johnson was head teacher from 1955 to 1987 and counts Bolton’s star steeplejack Fred Dibnah and the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Colin Shaw as former pupils. Mr Johnson said the weekend had been a huge success.
He added: “The event hasbeen really busy and we’ve seen so many former pupils. I haven’t stopped talking all weekend.
“I think it has given people a lot of pleasure to recall their school days. Many people have said it was the happiest time of their lives and that was lovely for me to hear.
“I started teaching after leaving the RAF in 1946 and then I came here in 1955 up until 1987. It does feel like a long time ago but I remember a great deal of it.
“I think the staff andpupils have not only enjoyed it but found it important to look back at their school days.
And it seemed the 89-year-old had not lost his touch with the pupils.
Former student Beverley Hesketh enjoyed reminiscing with her classmate Taryn O’Reilly.
Ms Hesketh, aged 55, from Darcy Lever, said: “It has been a fantastic day thanks to Mr Johnson — we still call him Johnson, out of respect, of course.
“We have loved looking through all of the old photographs and talking about the things we used to get up to, like the toy sale. It’s really taken me back to my childhood.”
Ms O’Reilly, aged 55, also from Darcy Lever, also managed to find a photograph of her sister Michelle, who died at the age of six after drowning in a canal.
She said: “It has been fantastic for me because I’ve found a picture of my sister and I don’t have any. I was only five when she died and I have been looking for photographs of her for years. It was wonderful to find it.”
The 205-year-old school also welcomed former congregation members of the church next door, also called St Stephen and All Martyrs.
Mr Johnson’s son Lee, aged 63, from Heaton, was a pupil at St Stephen until 1961 before becoming a teacher himself.
He said: “This has been so important because it’s all about our history. I think people have found it valuable.”
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