New starters 53 years ago - and a reunion

IT is 53 years since this week's featured photograph was taken – that takes us back to 1957 – sorry lads, not a long time if you say it quickly!

These Form One students at Rastrick Grammar School were starting life at a new school. Gone were the days of being one of the big fish in a small pond at their respective junior schools – here they were the small fish in what must have felt like a huge pond. It was certainly a life-changing period.

But while they were finding their way up and down the corridors of Rastrick Grammar School what was going on in the wider community?

I am sure some of them would have liked to emulate the skills of Robert Walshaw. He was racing driver from Leyburn Avenue, Lightcliffe, who retired from racing and rallying on June 30 of that year. With his co-driver he finished 13th in the 25th Grand Prix Le Mans' 24-hour endurance race.

That feat was not his only claim to racing fame. In 1952 as part of a three-man crew he made a record-breaking drive from London to Cape Town in South Africa. This gruelling journey was taken in a Humber Super Snipe and they completed it in 13 days, nine hours and six minutes, an endurance race against the clock that is still held now. The current record of 13 days has stood since 1963. Just how long Robert's record stood will need further research. I wonder if anyone else can remember Robert Walshaw?

Another event that year was the opening of the new Badger Hill reservoir at the top of Rastrick.

Now looking forward those 53 years to the present day, I would well imagine that most of these lads will be scattered the length and breadth of the country, and some may be even further afield. The photograph, which belongs to Stan Holroyd, shows: Back row (from left), Terence Wickens, James Lord, Neville Cannon, Roger Sykes, Michael Barke, Martyn Haigh, Frank Roebuck, John Payne, David Shaw and Edmund Husband.

Middle row (from left), Laurence Dalkin, Terence Bates, Michael Fenton, Trevor Atkinson, John Ramsden, Aubrey Collins, Paul Whiteley, Tony Edley, Edmund Arnold, Timothy Hepworth, David Taylor and David Hardie.

Front row (from left), Alan Brookes, Graham Wilkinson, Gerald Edwards, John Marshall, John Dunleavy, Mr Williamson, John Topham, Robert Mellor, Leslie Holland, Martyn Dowell and Stanley Holroyd.

Stan would like to remind everyone that the teacher was Mr 'Tex' Williamson, who he believes was also responsible for the school scout group as well. In the picture Stan was the oldest in the class, and is sitting next to Martyn Dowell, the youngest in the class. Stan also recalls that there were only about three lads who wore long trousers in that first year – as his mother used to say "Knees mend the'selves – and they're easier to wesh!"

The photograph is taken in the playground which is at the side of Ogden Lane, opposite the wall between the school and the property next door in Thornhill Road which laterbecame the sixth form centre.

Stan's class was the first form to be split at the end of their second year tomake Form 3 and Form 3R(emove). Form 3R was made up of the top12 pupils in Form 2, and had the dubious privilege of taking their GCE exams a year early and then spending thee years in the sixth form. It was a scheme that worked better for some than for others, he recalls..

To his knowledge only two of his old school pals on this photograph have since died and there are two missing from the photograph Keith Jenkins, whose father was a Methodist Minister in Brighouse and George Turnbull.

And a reminder from John Howarth, secretary, that it is the Old Rastrickians' Association's annual reunion dinner on Friday March 5. Stan Holroyd who became a student at the school in 1957 is hoping that as many school friends from Form One of that first year will be able to attend for what promises to be a wonderful evening of nostalgia. People can contact John Howarth on 07835235195 or email: oldrastrick

l AND finally, a big thank you to the eagle-eyed readers who spotted my mistake regarding the two photopgraphs featured last week, which I described as being in the Rayner Road area. Firstly, thanks to Stuart Black and Mrs Joan Baldry two regular readers from Clifton who immediately spotted the mistake, quickly followed by Mike Hanson from Hipperholme. Special thanks to Paul Blackburn who has spent many years researching his Blackburn family ancestors. The information he has provided about this prominent Brighouse family has proved invaluable. The two photographs were in fact taken at the junction of Clifton Common and Victoria Street and of property in Victoria Street itself. Apologies for this rare and hopefully never to happen again mistake.