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The boys (and girls)


are back in town


by Steve Ramsey


People are coming to East Grinstead from far and wide to catch up with old school friends and teachers at the Sackville School 70s Reunion in April. If you were a student there at any time in the 1970s, you cannot afford to miss this.


I


n 1971, students at Sackville School were asked to write about their vision for the year 2000. One essay began with a mother talking to her children: “Oh, come on you


two, it’s almost 9:00 hours. What time does your indoctrination start today?... Have you got your nutrition pills?” The author imagined a world where pollution had “long since blotted out” the sun, where the government controls the weather along with people’s minds. Another piece of writing was, if anything, more pessimistic. “The machines are slowly taking over. The very machines that we built to aid and help us… the end is near.”


Whether or not Sackville students feared the 21st century, they certainly thought it would be quite different from the 1970s. Peter Turnbull, who attended the school from 1973-9, told me: “I suppose when I was a kid we all thought the year 2000 would be people in tinfoil suits, eating a pill for breakfast, and hovering to work.” On Saturday 21st April 2012, hundreds of Sackville students and ex-teachers from the 1970s will be meeting at the school to catch up, reminisce and share their amazement at how mundane the 21st century has turned out to be. The reunion is open to anyone who was a student at Sackville School at any time during the 1970s, even if they started in the mid-60s or fi nished in the mid-80s.


It was originally meant to be a much smaller affair. Two former students, both now living in the USA, independently set up Facebook pages suggesting a reunion for the year group which joined the school in 1973. Hundreds of people signed up, but many were from different years. Peter Turnbull and his friend Steve Haynes got in touch with the two expats, and “the four of us decided to do a reunion for everybody from 1970-80,” with the help of recently retired Sackville teacher, Penney Bell.


“Steve and myself had a look around the school a few months ago. Practically nothing has changed,


except the canteen doesn’t serve spam fritters anymore,” said Peter. “For the reunion, we’re thinking of having a spam fritter in a display cabinet in the canteen, with some baked beans on the side. I was planning on having real fritters but then I remembered what they tasted like – quite revolting! – so we won’t do that.”


“We’re also hoping to do a price and food comparison,” he continued. “In 1973, a school dinner cost 12p, the main course was 9p, the pudding or fruit juice was 3p, and if you were really fl ash you’d have pudding and a fruit juice! We’re going to try and do the same with school uniforms as well, with a late 60s, continued on next page


➳ SUSSEX LIVING 65March 2012


Sackville School Upper 6th Form, 1979-80


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