Reunion News

Pictures from the latest Reunion on 16th July 2011 now on the website

Gumpathon

Jamie Jobson, an expupil now in the Royal Marines, is a member of the team running 29 marathons consequetively, a total of 3530miles, across America. The route is similar to that of Forest Gump – hence the name. They are collecting sponsorship for the Help for Heroes charity. Jamie is the youngest at 24/25 – he has already spent one tour in Afghanistan where seeing the sacrifice of some of his fellow Marines and others made him want to give something back. The website is www.gumpathon.com and it is also possible to donate by text (£5 automatically taken) GUMP70800. Congratulations to Jamie for a wonderful effort qnd the best of luck for the rest of the run. (Finishes in LA November 11th)

Leavers

There are a number of long serving teachers leaving this Summer :-

Peter Clyde, Peter Horn, Ray Hall, Hugh McBride, Angela MacKenzie, Malcolm Jarvie,Barry Taylor, Jude Sheppard,

Steve Wilkinson. Their expertise will be missed and so will the lively sense of humour displayed by many of the group.

 Rick Galusha

Rick will be in Newcastle October 8th and would like to see old friends. Check his entry in ‘Search’ to see those he remembers particularly but anyone else would be of interest.

SOS

Anyone have news of the following ladies :- Ethel Bowey, Hilda Kari, Joan Telford or Elsie Hartley? They were friends of Pauline Gayford in the 30s.

Please contact ann.dobson@molevalley.gov.uk as she hopes to be in NE in September.

New Headteacher

The school has had a new Headteacher since January 2009. She is called Lynne Ackland and all reports suggest that she is doing wonders in tightening up one or two things to improve the performance of Heaton Manor. Everybody I have spoken to is really impressed.

Superb Effort

Steve Jones collected over £16000 for Marie Curie Cancer Charities in memory of Marie Butterworth, his wife and School Deputy Head who, sadly, died in 2007 after a long illness, bravely borne. His effort in cluded the Baltic Cycle Challenge.Well done, Steve. We are all proud of you.

Sad News

Matty (Ian Mathew) has died in Worcester. There was a Memorial Service at St James and St Basil’s Church Fenham Tuesday 11th March. This was very moving with tributes from old friends who captured the essence of Matty beautifully. Many colleages from Heaton Grammar and Heaton School attended together with some ex pupils.

Heaton Grammar and Heaton High Websites

These have been reinstated by Dave Cowans. He had moved in Australia and has now managed to set them up again. The links are in the home page of this site. Good surfing.

Horrific News

The dreadful murders of four people in Newcastle are very close to home. The two adults were ‘ours’. Liz Sobo and her two children were killed on November 14th along with Yemi, her brother, their uncle. The children’s father has been charged. The funeral was on Friday 24th and reports say over 1000 attended.

Anyone who knew Yemi will remember his infectious smile and bubbly personality. He also bore his (sometimes) painful condition with fortitude. Liz was a total sweetie whose smile lit the place up and her children would seem to have been a joy. They are a great loss and we can only send deepest sympathy to their mother and the rest of the family.

There is a tribute website www.yemi.co.uk

Design Student

Kimberly Pearson, an ex-pupil, has done very well with design and has exhibited her knitted clothes (sounds unglamorous but they are gorgeous) in the local University talent show. Good luck to her going on to greater things in the fashion business.

Staff Unrest

This seems to have died down after the strike action earlier in the year. This was upheld by the Union as very many members of staff were to lose large sums of money because some restructuring was to take place. They are now safeguarded for 6 years and, hopefully, this can be resolved more amicably in the future. There is still a possibility of trouble involving ACAS with other issues but, again, hopefully it can be dealt with without further disruption.

Sad news

Edith Cherry also died 26th February very suddenly – an aneurysm we think – also a very well attended funeral with humour in the eulogies.

 

Ron Cherry died on December 13th after being ill for some time. His funeral was attended by very many ex colleagues, members of The Peoples’ Theatre and several expupils. Mike Chaplin gave an excellent eulogy including anecdotes which brought laughter to all and lovely memories. Richard, Ron’s and Edith’s son, also spoke very movingly of his father but he also included many humorous stories. He also quoted from ‘The Tempest’, the lovely passage which includes ‘We are the stuff that dreams are made of’. Fitting, Ron helped many to realise their dreams.

Commemorative Wall

The Commemorative Wall was finished in the Summer holidays and was dedicated on September 28th. Photos are now in the New School section.

New School

September 2004

I have had a guided tour of the new school which is now complete and occupied. The children had 9 weeks holiday to allow completion and the poor Staff had one week to get to know the new building before the "hordes" (over 2000) descended.

As if that wasn't difficult enough they had an Ofsted the next week, beginning Monday 25th. They deserve a medal for surviving. The "new" new part is impressive but vast. There will be ample opportunities for getting lost both accidental and deliberate.

I believe they have kept the old sundials/birdbaths from the old quads to preserve some tradition- a nice touch!

There are some exciting pieces of technology involved:-

. If you need lights you press, not a switch but a button labelled "Demand"- result, lights, just in the parts of the room which the computer "thinks" need it. This can be disconcerting, as, if you sit very quietly marking when the students have left the room, the lights go out. What, I ask myself, could happen in Winter exams?????

There are "smart" boards too, which know which colour the "pen" you pick up is by the position in the rack from which you take it.

Benton Site-

November 2004

The Benton Site (old Manor Park) is now a pile of rubble. Sad for those who have happy memories of the School or the site!

Intentions are probably to build Town houses, flats or possibly sheltered housing on the "footprint" but keep the playing fields and upgrade them. Watch this space!

Official Opening

This was a very pleasant occasion, starting off with a coffee reception. It was lovely to see lots of old friends (see below). We were entertained with several musical items by children who could be forgiven for thinking their efforts were in vain but we were listening as well as talking- honest!

We then repaired to the rather small but well appointed hall where we saw gym, organised by Joan Young, some impressive work by drama Students, Maths challenges run by Chris Cook and some lovely singing by the Choir, organised by Yvonne Wanke. The Year 11 band deafened us but that was the amplification- they were really excellent.

Three speeches preceded the walk round. John Dryden said how proud he is of his new school and read out a plea for updated facilities which sounded as if it had been written just before the rebuild. In fact, it had been Harry Askew, in 1974, who had made the heartfelt comments. So, it has happened, but it has taken 30 years! The Chair of Governors thanked everybody who had been involved in any way. Finally David Bell made a short, succinct speech with a real feel- good element to it.

We were shown round the whole building by some delightful Year 10 students who would match to any of the all-time greats of the past. Some of the facilities are superb, the drama and dance studio with a mirror wall for example and the interactive IT in many subjects. I saw some reaction time tests in Biology using such technology that I would have given my eye teeth for in the past.

We had a delicious lunch in the brilliant staffroom which has toilets and showers en suite. Dot, kitchen Queen, had excelled herself ,putting on such a spread.

All in all it was very enjoyable and the people of Heaton Manor deserve to enjoy the new school after all they have put up with during the rebuild.

 

Nostalgia

I received the following piece of living History from a gentleman in Kuala Lumpur. I think it is very well worth sharing with you all.

What is a school? By Nick Potts Heaton Grammar 1949-1956.

A friend sent me by email pictures of the progress of the demolition of the original Heaton Grammar/High School building and I found myself surprisingly distressed for a supposedly hard headed businessman. Why should this be? I ask myself. The buildings should not be important. What was important was what we learned, how we learned it, and eventually, how we used what we learned. If the place had been totally destroyed during the war for example, the teachers and pupils would have reassembled in some church hall somewhere and the school would have gone on, so why this strange attachment to the bricks and mortar which served simply to shelter from the weather, the transfer of ideas and knowledge?

I suppose for an answer I should go back to where I was and how I lived in 1949 when I took the "scholarship" exam in Chillingham Road School. My life up to then had been spent in a rented old flat with my war widowed mother and sister in "The Avenues", where nothing worked very well, where door frames had been moved off square by the blasts from the bombs aimed inaccurately at the shipyards or the main London/Edinburgh railway line and sidings alongside the houses. I could even just remember the blasts, as we had sheltered in the cellar.

Chillingham Road School was another old building, put up after the 1870 Education Act. "We must educate our masters." And it also had a very old rather ramshackle feel about it, especially the outside loos. There was little money around, in those Spartan early post war years, for non essential tasks like smartening up schools or the houses from whose garden walls we had watched the authorities cut down the iron railings during the war to send off and make bombs. They had been the only decorative feature in our streets.

When, as one of only 15% of the children of my age, I passed the exam and went up to the Grammar School in September 1949, I found a place where quality of facilities and building was actually offered to me as if it were mine by right. There were inside toilets, operated by amazingly modern push button operation, rather broken bits of string from a lever on a cistern high up on the wall. There were hot showers, the first I has ever seen and everyone could use them after a muddy football match, rather than carry the mud back on our legs to the school from Heaton Park as we used to at Chilly road. There was a gym, art room, woodwork room! Such luxury seemed incredibly wasteful to one whose life up to that point had been limited to the bare essentials. I had not known any other until I got to Heaton Grammar and there I began to glimpse something better.

The School was celebrating its 21st anniversary that year and I was given the fine booklet with pictures of the opening and an aerial shot of this outstanding new building in 1928. There is no doubt about it that it was graceful and had a wonderful feel about it. I still think so, but as Mr Purvis, my sixth form French teacher, observed, the design was only really good in the summer and would have been better suited to the climate of the South of France than the North East of England.

And yet, and yet, I loved every minute of being there, so, for this and all these reasons, I am sentimentally disturbed to see the demolition of the old place.

 

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Newcastle United Football Club

Newcastle’s young striker Shola Ameobi is an ex-pupil.
We will follow his career with interest. It looks good so far.

GOOD LUCK SHOLA!!!!!

Shola is doing very well at present. He is in the England under 21s squad and has scored 5 times for them. Sadly he has had to put up with some of the Racial Abuse which has been reported recently.

February 18th 2003

Shola played a storming game against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany –2 goals and another ruled offside, preventing him from gaining a hat- trick. Definitely Man of the Match. Hopefully he will get some further first team opportunities after such a good performance.

June 2003

Shola is doing excellently in the England under 21s-first goal in the last match.

LATEST NEWS- look out for Titi Ameobi (Shola's sister, which by the way, she doesn't want to be known by) who is an athlete to be watched. She won her 100 metres in her first Senior outing. She is also a contender for the 200 metres, possibly her best distance. Exciting by any standards!!!

Pop Idol

We have our own Pop Idol finalist in Aaron Bayley who is also an ex-pupil.

We wish him every success with his musical career.

See him in Sunderland Empire’s pantomime as Prince Aaron of Danilo in Snow White. Type cast!!!!!!

Aaron has been in Sweden recently, recording with Multiplay Music for record label V2. He has recorded some of his own compositions, one of which has caught the attention of Rock Megastar, Rod Stewart.

Rod contacted Aaron to ask if he would be willing to let him record Aaron’s song "Love is here forever" Needless to report, Aaron said "As if I would say No"

Well done Aaron- any further news on the subject to follow.

Aaron has been to Stockholm and updated his style. He had a gig on September 26th at the Opera House where you could buy his Mini Album before it hits the shops early in October. Aaron says it has a rock edge but not too heavy- more a MAN BAND sound.

This is great news- hope a lot of you supported. Sadly I was double booked and couldn’t go.

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Simon Mattock

Simon and fellow student, Andrew Robinson, have come up with a wonderful idea- a lorry (Silvertip dual-mode) which has retractable flange wheels for rail and tram tracks as well as conventional road wheels. The prototype, which took them 15 months to reach the working model stage, was displayed at the 2004 Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham.

David Wilkie

David has been appointed as one of the young reviewer- reporters with the local press. He has already produced several very perceptive and well-written articles. Watch for them in the Chronicle and Journal.

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Michael Craik

Michael has recently been appointed Northumbria Chief Constable designate after three years working as Assistant Chief Constable.

(Mike Craik was among the first group of boys that I taught after the amalagamation of the Grammar and High Schools – a lovely collection of characters – I remember him well.)

He has vowed to make the streets safer, crack down on yobbish behaviour and help to deal with drug barons while pressing for more help for addicts.

So far he has had some success with drug "busts" and plans to stop groups congregating in sensitive areas such as Cramlington centre.

 Terry Miller

Terry Miller who won "Hell’s Kitchen 2005" in Gary Rhodes’ team is a former pupil. He says his interest in cooking was sparked off at Heaton School when the traditional choices of Boys’craft/Girls’craft were modernised to allow boys to study Cookery. He did very well so watch out for"Rockafella’s" when he opens his Newcastle Restaurant with that name. Best of luck to him and his family.