Thousands queue at bumper Blackpool school reunion

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy queue down the street waiting to get in to look around the school at a reunion organised before the school is moved to new buildings on the site.
Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy queue down the street waiting to get in to look around the school at a reunion organised before the school is moved to new buildings on the site.
0
Have your say

Thousands of former pupils of a Blackpool primary school flocked to a grand reunion – many coming from overseas.

Former pupils and staff from Hawes Side Academy were welcomed to the Pedders Lane school which is set to move into new buildings on the site later this year.

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school at a reunion organised before the school is moved to new buildings on the site.

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school at a reunion organised before the school is moved to new buildings on the site.

So many people wanted to have one last look around their old haunts that they were queueing down the street to get in.

People had been able to have guided tours throughout last week and to see a special memories museum set up on the site and on Saturday they had the chance to meet former school friends, enjoy a picnic on the school field and relive their primary school days.

The move to the new buildings was due to be in September at the start of term, but has been put back until after autumn half term. Once completed the old buildings will be demolished.

Headteacher Michael Shepherd said organisers and staff were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the support and interest.

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school

He said: “It was absolutely fantastic, we were blown away by the numbers. Our site supervisor reckoned there must have been 3,000 people, they were queueing down Pedders Lane.

“It was humbling to experience the feeling that people in the community have for their old school.

“We had octogenarians who were here the day the school opened in 1937 and speaking to them was a privilege. It just shows how important primary school memories are to people.

“We had people who were here during the 40s, 50s and 60s right through to leavers of a few years ago and most of them wanted to meet their former teachers.

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school

“The DJ who was playing music from down those decades was taking requests from people who wanted to meet up. So many people wanted their photographs taken with their former teachers.

“People were given stickers to wear with ‘Class of 86’ or whichever year they left, so that as they walked around people could meet up with old class mates and talk.”

The visitors could see displays of memorabilia in the hall, former registers, log books, photographs and newspaper stories about the school. There was also a rolling display of digital photographs.

Mr Shepherd added: “The weather was great and people brought hampers and had picnics on the field. People had come from all over including one from Australia, I think a lot of them used the reunion as a reason to come on their holiday.

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school at a reunion

Past pupils of Hawes Side Academy look around the school at a reunion

“I would like to thank everyone who came, the organisers and staff both current and former, and especially Wendy Barnes, everyone has been amazing in bringing this all together.

“We have already been asked about doing it again and we will be putting together a display for the new buildings when we move in after half term in November.

“We will be letting people come and look around then too.”

Hawes Side Academy reunion

Hawes Side Academy reunion