It was not without some trepidation that I turned into the car park at Carlisle Football Club as, I am ashamed to say, I had not attended an Old Scholars gathering for almost 50 years.
That I had come to the right place was confirmed by the sight of a cluster of people about my age (elderly) enjoying greetings and smiles of welcome in the car park. We joined this group and, even before we pinned on name labels, spotted several familiar faces which was very encouraging. Much more relaxed now we made our way up to the conference room for coffee where about sixty members were already engrossed in animated chatter. An atmosphere of joy, frowns of thought, scratching of heads to aid memory and exclamations of surprise, the full range of expression.
“There’s John Linnell, I haven’t seen you for 60 years, “and Malcolm Bell “ how like your dad you are, so good to see you!”
A look at photographs of teams, prefects, brothers and sisters etc It is surprising that names and faces that were so familiar years ago come flooding back when sometimes it is difficult to bring to mind the name of someone who lives “down the road”.
The formalities of the AGM confirmed that WOSA is in a good financial state. We were encouraged to inform the committee if we knew of anyone who may be in need of some support. Relevant photographs or information can always be added to the website or magazine and should be sent to John Taylor or to Marjorie Taylor.
As part of the meeting all members of the association who have died during the year were remembered. Mollie Peel who was our oldest member died in April. Helen Snowball explained that Mollie was the last of the fourth generation of Hindes to attend the school since her great grandfather Robert had started at Highmoor in 1820. There are still 6 WOSA members of the sixth generation but not with the Hinde surname.
At the end of the meeting Peter Kurer was made an honorary member of the association for his invaluable contributions over many years . He was presented with a glass plate inscribed with the WOSA logo.
After the AGM, Peter Kurer give us an extremely interesting illustrated talk on his life. In particular he emphasised the role of the Quakers in the organisation of Kindertransport of refugees from Berlin and Vienna.
Time for lunch and more chatter which lasted well into the afternoon before dispersing for a couple of hours to recharge for the evening.
The evening dinner is a very relaxed occasion. A very good meal and a seating plan of, in most cases, contemporaries. Do you remember when?……….. What was the name of? …… Oh, I had forgotten that!...etc
Maurice Tate addressed the gathering and told us of various interesting stages of his life before handing over the badge of office to Dorothy Pearlman, the President elect for 2017/8.
As most drifted off home or to hotels a ‘hardy’ group drifted into a Carlisle wine bar to complete their evening there.
On Sunday morning Meeting for Worship was held at Carlisle or Mosedale. A few of us went to Brookfield to look at changes and remember. The Cottage which along with Hillside and Cuddy Lonnin really are the only recognisable parts.
And so home after a very enjoyable weekend- I must not leave it another 50 years!!
Iain Gillies 1953-60