Meeting those old Rastrickians . . .

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Well, another year has gone by since the old boys of Rastrick Grammar School met at the Auctioneer Restaurant for their annual Old Rastrickians’ Association dinner.

I am sure they will all agree that it is a special night for all those who attend and these events seem to come round all too often the older you get. But I know having spoken to the secretary they are a highlight on the calendar. These annual soirees give the members of the association the opportunity to meet old school mates to catch-up, share and swop memories and no doubt a few tall tales as well. With many of the old stories being told not for the first either but with perhaps different embellishments as each year goes by, and if they do, so what. This is a wonderful annual tradition and long may it continue.

The guest speaker for this year’s event is David Horsfield, a well known name from the higher echelons of the brass band world and his work with the Brighouse Lions. In particular the annual Brighouse March and Hymn competition when it seems like the whole of Brighouse descend on the town centre the first Sunday of July for what is now a feature of the Brighouse calendar..

After David passed his 11-plus in 1955 he left Longroyde Junior School and began his Rastrick Grammar School education as the oldest boy in the class. Moving schools from being a big fish in a small pond to becoming a small fish in a vast sea at the grammar school could have been a difficult move but David was making the move with a number of his Longroyde school friends which made the move all the more easier.

Keen on football, an interest he still has, he was soon picked to be in a school team. David was accepted into Warren House (Reds) and the competitive spirit in the House competitions made up for the less interesting subjects he was now faced with, Latin to name the most obvious!.

Music lessons were with Mr. Walker but Elvis was in full swing at the time and his preparation for music ‘O’ level was quite a challenge. This was the era of Mr. Cholmondley as the school and David still recalls that he created a lasting impression on him as well as many other first-formers.

It was during his first year at Rastrick when he was invited to join Brighouse and Rastrick Band a challenge for any 13 year old. Maintaining his studies, homework, examinations along with fulfilling the many rehearsals and concerts that this world famous band completed each year certainly stretched him.

It was David who usually played a cornet solo on the annual speech days which were held in the Parish Hall each year and also at the annual carol service at St. Matthew’s Church.

Even with all those activities each year David managed to be selected to represent the school at football. For those whole played in those teams will like David still remember the red and black quartered shirts which always seemed to be so heavy.

Even with all these activities David prepared well for his ‘O’ levels especially in English Language, Chemistry, Music and French.

It was during his final year that he was offered an apprenticeship as a compositor at Kirklees Printing Company on Bethel Street. The owner of what was a prosperous Brighouse company Mr. Jack Lakey was also the President of Brighouse and Rastrick Band. It was in September 1960 that David took the first steps on what was to be a life time in the world of printing. He started this life long career in the area of graphics which he recalls was fascinating work looking back now with hand-set type and “hot metal” a world away from today’s printing and the working practices David’s own family printing businesses uses. This is an industry that has been revolutionised by the computer.

This week’s featured photograph is kindly loaned by David and shows him in the school football team back in the 1956-57 season. With possibly some of his fellow team members also being at the annual Rastrick Grammar School Old Boy’s Association dinner should make an interesting night of convivial reflection.

This annual event is being held at the Auctioneer Restaurant on Friday, March 7, at the Auctioneer, 7pm for 7.30pm. Former students of the Rastrick Grammar School who wish to attend are asked to contact John Howarth on e-mail: or the association chairman John Harrison on 01484 – 401073.

The event is open to former students of Rastrick Grammar School from all eras.