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NEWS > Alumnae News > The Class of 1970 Celebrate Turning 70

The Class of 1970 Celebrate Turning 70

Alumnae from the Class of 1970 came together this summer from across the world and around the UK to share laughter, tears and many happy memories as they celebrated turning 70. Lesley Gibbs reports.

This year, 2022, is an important year for LEH alumnae who left in 1970. This is the year that we all turn 70! It seems such an unlikely age; a huge number that we could never have anticipated in the year we left school with our focus on careers, the expansion of our horizons and looking forward to everything that life might bring our way.   

So it was with a spirit of excitement and curiosity that a few of us who had remained in (at worst) intermittent or (at best) regular contact decided it was an opportunity to gather as many of our year together as possible to celebrate. Word of mouth is a useful conduit.

It’s important to remember that Rosie Marsh, Headmistress’ Prefect in our final year and the only one of us who had moved between classes in our year, was an excellent source of information about friends. She had an enviable ability to keep in touch with many people and arranged get-togethers from time to time. She rallied us to attend LEH Alumnae Reunions where we marvelled at the dramatic transformations of our old school. She was also the one who set up our “Now we are 50” reunion. Very sadly, Rosie died in 2015, six months after a small group of us met at her house

For our big celebration this year, we started a year ago with a core group thinking about what sort of event we’d like and canvassing for ideas of time of year, asking our contacts to pass the message on to others who they knew, who weren’t already on the contact list. The consensus was in favour of a relaxing lunch in the house of someone who lived in London, easily accessible by public transport, with the host providing a bought-in meal with home-made accompaniments, and everyone making a donation of £20, any surplus going to a Ukraine Charity.

It so happened that many of the women in our year were summer babies, planning to return to the UK from homes across the globe to celebrate with family and friends. That was a real boost to the organisational challenge! I sent out a Doodle Poll, asking for everyone’s availability in June 2022. Inevitably within such a diverse group, there was not one single date which suited everyone. However, there were two dates, a week apart, which would include everyone who was able to come and interested in doing so.

There was some concern about how easily we would recognise each other after all these years. Nothing worse than arriving at your destination to blank faces! Or having to repeat the same information about who you were and what you did when you left school many times over. Or realising that one person had had interesting experiences which aligned with yours, but you didn’t find out until after they’d left. So I had the idea of asking everyone to provide a short biography (150 words) with two photos – one at school age, one current.

The resulting mini-biographies were wonderful. They were vivid, individual and fascinating; such a range of life stories and experiences. And they brought us up-to-date very quickly, providing a talking point from the start.

Also necessary to the smooth-running of our events was a set of clear travel instructions to the two venues, based on the assumption that our visitors could find their way to a central London station, and how and where to go from there.

By the time of our two lunches, our contact list had grown to 22 of us, about one third of our year back into contact. This was aided by Holles Connect sending a message to women of our year who were on the Alumnae list, but not on ours. In that way we gained two more for the contact list, one of whom was able to join the summer gathering.

Our gathering saw some of our year group fly in from Australia, Canada, USA, Germany, France and South Africa, while within the UK we had visitors from Wales, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex and the Home Counties.

Both the lunches were a great success; fantastic food, great conversations, excellent weather and loads of memories bringing gales of laughter. The latter were prompted by old school photos, copies of prize-giving programmes and general memorabilia. Some of us were at the school for the 250th Anniversary, the memorial service for Miss Lacey at St Paul’s and other significant events in the school life.

There were 12 women at the first lunch and 11 at the second, some of the more local of us attended both. There were a few cancellations: a sudden Covid attack, a reluctance to travel for hours on public transport in a heatwave, plans changing suddenly.

I thought of Rosie at our two lunches. She would have loved them, the centre of conversation and with thoughtful words for everyone.

We have plans to meet more regularly but, for now, we enjoy remembering new contacts made, delight in renewing old friendships and hopes for the future.

Those taking part were as follows (all maiden names):

Marian Jacques and Lesley Gibbs (hosts)

Philippa Bill, Jennifer Dart, Denise Davies, Sue Fuge, Caroline Goldie, Juliet Grimm, Jo Heaf, Liz Hughes, Julia Marlow, Catriona McColl, Vanessa Moore, Liz Newby, Linda Piggott, Linda Sampson, Jane Sykes, Gillian Turnbull

Those unable to come, but on our contact list:

Nicola Bristow, Janet Falkner, Anne Herrmann, Jane Holland, Heather Peirce, Ros Pyne, Barbara Rommer, Karen Shanks, Kathy Sykes.

In the photo above you can see: L-R: Jane Sykes, Linda Sampson, Caroline Goldie, Marian Jacques, Linda Piggott, Liz Newby, Denise Davies, Liz Hughes, Lesley Gibbs, Vanessa Moore.

If you are logged into your Holles Connect account, you will be able to see the photo below of the other get-together.  L-R: Sue Fuge, Gill Turnbull, Jennifer Dart, Lesley Gibbs, Jo Heaf, Linda Piggott, Julia Marlow. Philippa Bill, Marian Jacques, Catriona McColl, Liz Hughes, Juliet Grimm

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