Pikeys Progress class of 1956

Posted 28th June 2019

Here we come, walking down the street, getting respect from everyone we meet,
Hey hey we’re the……… class of ’56; and who are you calling a monkey
Maidstone took cover on May 31st as a group of 73/74 year olds set out for a night on the tiles, and grouting never gets more serious than this!
Pete Wilkinson worked out that our total age was 972, although it took him an incredible long time to work it out. (The night he spent with Rachel Riley obviously did him no good at all – well, as far as his mathematical skills are concerned, at least.) The sobering thought, and there were not many of those on this particular evening, was that we had a combined age of 143 when we first met
As is the tradition on this, the fourth occasion on which those who entered Wilson’s Grammar school in 1956 gathered together, we stayed overnight at the Maidstone travel lodge before meeting at the Muggleworth pub and then on for a meal at a local Italian restaurant, where we were allocated our usual spacious room
Gerry (Bourne), Pete (Wilkinson), Bill (Hartley), Rod (Warboys) and Alan (Wilson) claimed the window seat –they had the look of a Rolling Stones re-union about them – whilst the rest of us assembled around the table which, initially, proved somewhat problematic as it was not big enough and there were not enough chairs
This problem was soon overcome and we then waited…….. and waited for the meal. Vic (Bennett) who had again taken on the responsibility of getting us all together - thanks Vic – had a few words with the powers that be and the food began to arrive as reminiscences, and wine, began to flow
It is remarkable, and this applies to the Old Wilsonians’ Association per se as well as this event, that the few years we spent in secondary education has induced so many of us to stay in contact for so many years
Terry (Adams) Alan (Wilson) Bill (Hartley) and I had met at Bromley South station shortly before 5-00 p.m in order to get a train to Maidstone on time where Terry asked:
“Did we have to share a room last year?”
What you got up to, Terry, is your own business, but the rest of us – most of us? – were alone when it came to retiring for the night
And it’s worth asking the question here, where else could you get a night out, overnight stay, the equivalent of a bottle of wine each and a similar amount of beer and a three course meal for £85 and still have £31 left in the beer whip at the end of the evening(?)
Rod (Warboys) felt that Gerry (Bourne) now looks like Richie Benaud, which the former substantiated when he kept repeating the likes of
“What a fine effort that was “ and “Oh; that’s close”
Pete noticed some young women on a night out in Maidstone – I see where Terry was coming from now – and, no doubt there were some young men doing the same thing, but somehow we didn’t seem to notice them
Alan Wilson had thoughtfully brought along a copy of ‘The Wilsonian’ magazine of December 1961, in which most of us got a mention, including for passing at least one GCE ‘O’ level.
The magazine included a photograph of the School’s 1st Xl football team, which featured Tony Ide, Pete Wilkinson and Stan Honnor, whilst Tony Ide was also in the cricket 1st Xl – flash git!
The latter also featured Dave Wakeford and Bill Newman, two more of our year whom we hope to persuade to attend next time although, unsurprisingly, none of us featured in the picture of the school prefects at the time
Terry Adams won a languages prize – his language has deteriorated since - whilst Bill Hartley was the under 16 high jump champion at 5’ 1”, although he’s a bit taller now
Bob (Bevan) spoke for us all when he thanked Vic for organising the event before being picked up by his chauffeur, Prince Philip, whose driving skills resemble that of a family planner in that you never know when/if he is going to pull out in the middle of the road, whilst Bob’s many years of after dinner speaking has left his voice very croaky – he has begun to sound like a cross between a cement mixer on its last legs and a chicken trying to give birth to a football
After the meal many went back to the Pub but Alan, Gerry, Pete and I returned to the Travel Lodge for a night cap. Pete told some jokes, which did at least demonstrate his acting skills, and the talk was of such things as the music of the 1960s and the battles between ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’, with first hand experiences much to the fore
Not everyone made it to breakfast but the initial travellers did so, and on the journey back to Bromley South the four of us - Alan, Bill, Terry and I; do keep up – agreed what an enjoyable evening it had been and Bill compiled his ‘Gits List’, which no doubt included all three of his travelling companions
And so concluded another reunion of the Class of ’56 and we are already looking forward to next year’s event in the hope that our numbers will increase. (As well as the aforementioned Bill Newman and Dave Wakeford, Bob Chapman is also on our radar.) Thirteen made it this time, sadly Alan Dyne and Stan Palmer, of the original 15, could not make it at the last minute, but the 13 who did were:
Terry Adams, Len Bateman, Vic Bennett, Richard Berger, Bob Bevan, Gerry Bourne, Bill Hartley, Stan Honnor, Tony Ide, Rod Warboys, Pete Wilkinson, Alan Wilson and yours truly

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