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The Herts and Essex class of '63 reunited after 55 years

Nags Head, Bishops Stortford. Members of the Class of 63 meeting up for a reunion. Pic: Vikki Lince
Nags Head, Bishops Stortford. Members of the Class of 63 meeting up for a reunion. Pic: Vikki Lince

A group of 12 former Herts and Essex High School girls were reunited 55 years after finishing sixth form together.

The class of 1963, who are all now in their early 70s, met for lunch at the Nags Head in Dunmow Road. While some of the women live in the town, others came from further afield including Surrey, Norfolk, north Essex and west Hertfordshire.

Janet Parkin, one of the self-styled Old Girls, still lives in Stortford. She and husband Barry have a house in Windhill, so she extended an invitation to her former classmates that they could stay with her if they had travelled long distances.

But some of her old school friends were unable to make the reunion – 30 of the school leavers are still in touch with each other – so apologies and good wishes were sent from the Isle of Skye, Zurich, the south of France, Vancouver and California.

The Old Girls first met for a nostalgic get-together 30 years ago to celebrate 25 years since leaving school. They did not meet again until their 48th anniversary, when they had a meal at the Lemon Tree.

“For our 50th we met again and we’ve been meeting every year since,” said Janet.

Janet – who was the Hart house captain – was known as Horlicks at school as her maiden name was Horlington. She became Janet Buttery after she married her teenage sweetheart Graham. “My first husband died about ten years ago. I met him at school,” she said.

Five years ago, Janet – a former clerk for Ware Town Council – married Barry Parkin, a widower she met at the U3A, and the couple now belong to both the Stortford and Ware branches of the group.

The reunion was organised by Liz Pickford, who lives in Dunmow, and she took a celebration cake with her.

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