Globetrotters back to arrange reunion

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MANY decades have past since they were pals at school so it was a special occasion when they met in Langholm in their 70th year.

Organisers of the school reunion are Joyce Lewis, Gavin Graham and Jane Kyle
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Organisers of the school reunion are Joyce Lewis, Gavin Graham and Jane Kyle

The reunion, in the Buccleuch Centre, was for the former Langholm pupils who were born in 1947. About 30 people attended and enjoyed a buffet.

Organisers Jane Kyle (Paisley) travelled from Australia while Joyce Lewis (Patterson) came from Canada and Gavin Graham was the Langholm contact.

Joyce, who lives in Williamstown, Ontario, was invited to a friend's golden wedding in Rutland. They used to share a flat in London before Joyce married. She decided to organise the reunion in Langholm to coincide with her four-week visit.

She left Langhholm when she was 18 after studying at Dumfries Academy. She went to work in London where she met her husband, Jim, and they moved to Canada in 1974. Joyce is enjoying her stay in the Thomas Hope Lodge.

She said: "It has been fantastic and great to catch up. Everyone looks the same as when they were at school."

It was a coincidence that Jane, who lives in Esperance on the south coast of Western Australia, was invited to her sister's golden wedding in Cumbria at about the same time.

She said: "I have been in touch with Joyce for about five years and when we realised we would both be in Britain at the same time, we decided to organise the reunion and get together as many people as possible. It has been nice to see all these people I haven't seen for more than 50 years. We are pleased with the response."

Arthur Campbell of Eccleston, Chorley, attended with his wife, Marion. His dad, Walter, used to own the chemist/opticians in Langholm. It is now the charity shop. Arthur left when he was 10 to move to Bournemouth, then to Coppull, Lancashire where his dad ran two chemist shops.

Arthur was never in touch with anyone since he left. It was another coincidence when his friend David Horsefield, working voluntarily at Astley Hall in Chorley, met a woman with a Scottish accent.

He asked her where she came from and she replied Manchester. He said it wasn't a Manchester accent and she said he wouldn't know where she came from; it was a town called Langholm.

He said he did because his friend Arthur came from Langholm. Her name was Jean Molineux (Anderson) and her parents owned the Crown Hotel.

Jean gave him her contact details and Arthur and Marion met her at Common Riding last year. She told Arthur about the reunion.

Margaret Hudson of Rosevale Street said: "It has been lovely meeting everybody. Some I haven't seen for years but I have recognised most people."

Ethel Warwick said: "I have not seen them for 55 years so it has been good to catch up."

Gavin said: "It was a great success and everybody soon remembered faces and names as they all arrived. I didn't know everybody because I came to Langholm in 1958 and was not with many of them in my P7 class for very long before I moved to the senior school and a much smaller class.

"It was also strange for me because, from my four years at the senior school, I am one of the only ones from my class still in Langholm. It was particularly good to see Billy Steele; we had been neighbours and friends and were in the same class for four years. We never thought he would become a world-famous rugby player but he has done Langholm and Scotland proud."

Billy, who was born in Langholm, joined the RAF in his late teens but played rugby for Langholm before he left.

He said: "It has been brilliant meeting everyone. I come back quite a bit and keep in touch. I used to play rugby with Eric Beattie and we trained together at school. I was best man at his wedding."

Billy played rugby in the RAF interservice and combined services.

"I used to come back when I could to play for Langholm and at the Langholm 7s."

Billy was four years with Bedford Blues and London Scottish and got his first Scottish cap in 1969 against England. His final game was against England in 1977. He also went on an unbeaten British Lions tour in 1974 and played in the first two tests.

See page 15 for more photos.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 3:36PM
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