Pocklington and District Local History Group got Woldgate School’s 60th anniversary off to a big start when more than 150 people attended a night of talks, plus a film, photographic exhibition and a schoolday memories workshop at the school.
The audience ranged from former pupils from the very first intake in October 1958 (the newly constructed school on Kilnwick Road opened three weeks late as the building was not quite completed on time), right through to a couple of present day students.
There were also teachers from every era, led by three, Tom Pollock, Joan Loney and Bill Fletcher, who were in the original staff group under first headmaster Hadyn Vaughan.
Remarkably, the school has had only four heads in its 60 years, with the present one, Jonathan Britton, opening proceedings and outlining the school’s current strengths along with his thoughts for the future.
It was then back to the past as Robert Sefton, the school’s first head boy, entertainingly recalled walking through the new doors on his first day at Woldgate back in 1958.
He was also a film enthusiast and commentated through his remarkable cine film of his time at the school, including the first school trip to Liverpool and an early cross country run over a Chapel Hill devoid of houses.
John Brown took over to passionately relate the many highs, and an odd low, in his 25 years at the helm, 1973-1997.
He focused on how important nearby villages are to the school – Woldgate becoming a specialist secondary education establishment, caused the closure of several local village schools – and he clearly stated how special he thinks the school is.
He also detailed the leading roles that ex-pupils have gone on to after Woldgate, including running numerous local businesses, or making a wider impact nationally in so many fields.
School life through the decades was eloquently described by a trio of leading alumni.
The first, as Andrea Hobbs, wondered how she was chosen for the role of head girl in 1983 as she remembered the long list of tellings off received during her school career.
Stephen Hawksworth, head boy in 1989, described his painful initiation and the school’s very first primitive computers.
Another former head boy from 2000, James Ratcliffe, recalled more computer glitches, making big profits from running the tuck shop, and being allowed to paint the 6th Form common room pink.
All commentated on how important their Woldate education has been to them in their later lives.
The evening was organised by history group committee members Jane Henley, Andrew Sefton and John Brown. And Andrew Sefton’s exhibition of dozens of old Woldgate photographs prompted innumerable memories, with the archive being greatly added to on the night by those attending who brought many more photos and memorabilia with them.