Convent girls back together for landmark birthday

Layton Hill's "70th reunion" girls in 1958 in their winter tunics. Back,from left, Krysia Wilczynski, Vanessa Wright,Angela Heath, Christine Armour and Sandra Meadows. Front, Carole Bamber, Josephine Thomas and Teresa Smith. Below, the girls in their summer uniforms. Back row, from left: Anne Wilkinson, Christine Ashcroft, Christine Armour and Catherine Cross. Front row: Judith Carr, Josephine Thomas and Barbara Ogden
Layton Hill's "70th reunion" girls in 1958 in their winter tunics. Back,from left, Krysia Wilczynski, Vanessa Wright,Angela Heath, Christine Armour and Sandra Meadows. Front, Carole Bamber, Josephine Thomas and Teresa Smith. Below, the girls in their summer uniforms. Back row, from left: Anne Wilkinson, Christine Ashcroft, Christine Armour and Catherine Cross. Front row: Judith Carr, Josephine Thomas and Barbara Ogden
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Summer dresses or winter tunics? That was the choice for a group of former Layton Hill Convent classmates as they shared old pictures at a reunion to mark their 70th birthdays.

One of the organisers, Cath Woodcock (nee Cross), says: “We all met in our first year at the school in 1954 and formed a strong bond during our five years sharing a class.

Layton Hill's "70th reunion" girls in 1958 in their summer uniforms. Back row, from left: Anne Wilkinson, Christine Ashcroft, Christine Armour and Catherine Cross. Front row: Judith Carr, Josephine Thomas and Barbara Ogden. Below, the girls in their winter tunics. Back,from left, Krysia Wilczynski, Vanessa Wright, Angela Heath, Christine Armour and Sandra Meadows. Front, Carole Bamber, Josephine Thomas and Teresa Smith.

Layton Hill's "70th reunion" girls in 1958 in their summer uniforms. Back row, from left: Anne Wilkinson, Christine Ashcroft, Christine Armour and Catherine Cross. Front row: Judith Carr, Josephine Thomas and Barbara Ogden. Below, the girls in their winter tunics. Back,from left, Krysia Wilczynski, Vanessa Wright, Angela Heath, Christine Armour and Sandra Meadows. Front, Carole Bamber, Josephine Thomas and Teresa Smith.

“Then, in 1983, a small group of us decided we would try to contact as many of the class as possible to mark our 40th birthdays.”

Cath, who lives in Carleton, says proudly: “I am one of a threesome who have stayed locally and been close friends for almost 60 years.”

The others are Judith Lancaster (nee Carr), of Layton, and Krysia Ward (nee Wilczynski), who lives in Cleveleys.

Cath explains: “We started our detective work using a list of names from an old school jotter and reminiscing over old photographs, eventually succeeding in getting together more than 20 of the class for that first reunion.”

Cath says: “It was a great success and everyone stayed in touch. Further reunions followed for our 50th, 60th and 65th milestones and now we had a brilliant reun ion with an evening meal for 22 at the Imperial Hotel.”

As a group the old girls cover all corners of the UK, and one of the guests is joining them all the way from Ontario, Canada.

Cath says: “I think we have achieved something quite exceptional in maintaining friendships with such a large number and for such a long time.”

The former convent, on St Walburgas Road, is now undergoing a multi-million pound transformation as St Mary’s Catholic College.

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