Memory Lane: Classmates

Highfield School, South Shore, 1974 The cast of Free as Air
Highfield School, South Shore, 1974 The cast of Free as Air
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THERE are always plenty of school rules to obey, of course, but when this picture was taken at Highfield School, Blackpool, the youngsters were literally free as air...

It was February 1974 and smiling for The Gazette photographer are the cast of the musical Free As Air, the school’s first major production for two years.

Nigel Jurgens, who is in the middle of the photograph, wearing a hat, recalls: “It was written by Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade and the story revolves around the residents of an undiscovered Channel Island called Terhou. The production included several memorable songs, in particular Let The Grass Grow and Nothing But Sea And Sky. It was produced by Eddie Baldwin, and Val George was musical director. I played the part of Gregory, who was the assistant of Bindweed, the gardener, who was played by Lennie Wiseman. The play ran for three nights, and was well received.”

Nigel adds: “The year 1974 was unusual in that the country had two general elections, and also unusual in that Highfield had two school plays – the second one, in December, was Salad Days.”

Julie Duckworth, a future Miss England in 1980, is second right on the front row.

n You never know who you might recognise in our weekly Classmates pictures. After featuring a 1957 photograph from Claremont Boys Secondary School last Saturday, two readers rang to say they had spotted themselves and a number of friends in the photograph submitted by Poulton reader Peter Moore. But they wanted to point out that we had identified the wrong school. As you can imagine, the alarm bells started to ring! But while one was convinced the featured school lay across the border in Yorkshire, the other felt it was Warrington, from the days when the town was still within the Lancashire boundary. Were we wrong? Well, thankfully, no – it WAS Claremont, as confirmed by checking the design of the school blazer badges on other archive pictures from the 1950s.

We are always happy to publish your old school photographs from across the Fylde coast, along with your memories. Send them to or post to Craig Fleming, The Gazette, Avroe House, Avroe Crescent, Blackpool, FY4 2DP.