Former Tilgate pupil hoping to organise 1960s reunion
A FORMER pupil at one of the town's secondary schools is trying to get old classmates back together for a huge reunion.
Raymond Fiveash attended Thomas Bennett School, in Tilgate, between 1961 and 1966 and is hoping to reunite students who were there at a similar time.
"We've had four or five reunions over the years and had about 80 to 90 people come," he said.
"I'm trying to get the biggest number of people we've had. I'm looking to get people from when the school opened in 1958 to those who were at the school until 1968.
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"I kept in touch with a couple of members of staff and they will come too. I just don't know if former pupils still live in the area but I'm hoping if they don't they will have friends or relatives who do."
Mr Fiveash was inspired to organise the first reunion about seven years ago when school friend Tony Stark died after a battle with cancer.
He said: "When Tony died he was only 55. You don't expect, when you're at school, for someone to die at that age.
"We all said we should try and keep in touch more and it is nice to see old friends."
The reunions have been organised by former pupils Cheryl Bull (nee Denmark), and Adrian Poile as well as Mr Fiveash.
Now 62, Mr Fiveash has kept in close contact with former sports teacher Denis Wright.
He said: "I played basketball with Denis so I kept in contact with him. He has a photographic memory for everyone he taught.
"He looked at a photo of more than 1,000 pupils once and was able to name all of them. He used to drive a lot of pupils around for sports competitions so I know a lot of people will remember him.
"His wife, Doreen, also taught at the school – they were their first teaching jobs."
Mr Wright was at Thomas Bennett from 1960 until 1974 in a variety of roles ranging from PE teacher to deputy head of the former middle school.
Mr Fiveash, who now lives in Cobham, Surrey, is hoping to hold the reunion at some point in September at the Toby Carvery, in Vancouver Drive, Langley Green.
He said: "We'll take photographs and programmes from the school plays and photo albums from the last reunions to show everyone."
To find out more about the reunion e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org