Friends are reunited at Midhurst after half a century

Rita Gates and June Jones with Midhurst Rother College headteacher Dr Joe Vitagliano and fellow classmates of 1961 and 1962.'''C121352-1 Mid Reunion  Photo Louise Adams
Rita Gates and June Jones with Midhurst Rother College headteacher Dr Joe Vitagliano and fellow classmates of 1961 and 1962.'''C121352-1 Mid Reunion Photo Louise Adams
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MANY months of hard work paid off after two former Midhurst Secondary Modern pupils organised a school reunion.

School friends Rita Gates, 62, and June Jones, 61, have worked tirelessly since February to contact as many former students from their year groups as possible and bring them back to Midhurst.

They obtained the 1961 and 1962 registers from the West Sussex Record Office, and then used a mixture of Facebook, Friends Reunited and the BT Residential website to track down former pupils and organise the get-together.

The group were then given a tour of the new Midhurst Rother College last Saturday.

June said: “It was excellent. Everybody was amazed and the school were more than helpful.”

People had come from far and wide, including one who came all the way from Germany.

June added: “The response was absolutely amazing.

“It’s the first time it’s been done and it was special in that we have wanted to do it for many years and this year we decided to do it.”

The meet-up was also attended by 91-year-old Joyce Lexstrom, the school secretary at the time, who shared her memories of school days in the 1960s.

Getting everyone together was a huge task, and they were busy right up to the day.

“You do get worried at the end,” said June. “Last week was a bit stressful.

“But to see all those people walking towards you was amazing.

“Some hadn’t changed at all, and with others as soon as they spoke you recognised them.”

They have both thanked the college’s principal Joe Vitagliano and the Year-10 pupils who showed them around the site.

The reunion also raised approximately £160, which will be donated to the Midhurst Macmillan Service.