WHEN the old picture was taken The Beatles’ career was just taking off and Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister.
And, as the main picture shows, not that much has changed for the old boys of Portsmouth Grammar School’s 1961/62 rugby team in the 50 years that have passed since.
Many of the players travelled across the globe for the reunion at the school’s playing fields in Hilsea, including Phil White who flew over from Vancouver, in Canada, to recreate the image exactly.
Dr White, 67, who was in the team’s front row and is now a GP, said: ‘It was fabulous to see all the boys again. I hadn’t seen about 95 per cent of them for 50 years.
‘Obviously, everyone has aged but their personalities and characters are all still the same.’
Reunion organiser John Owens worked out the odds of all 16 of them still being alive today to meet for the 50-year anniversary were 256,000-1.
The team were also delighted to be joined by two of their three coaches from that year, John Hopkinson and Peter Barclay.
The third coach, Ray Clayton, died last year at the age of 90 after suffering a stroke.
As part of the event, Dick Churm – pictured far right without a cap – was given his colours, having never received them because he missed the last game of the season in 1962 due to illness.
The other player also without a cap, John Fifield, had been given his the year after the original school picture was taken.
The old boys had a chance to meet the school’s current first 15 rugby team and watch them play against Churchers.
Dick Churm, 68, who now lives in Brittany, was the 1962 team’s full back. After leaving the grammar school, he went on to work at The News for 25 years before moving to the Swindon Advertiser.
Mr Churm said: ‘I haven’t seen any of these boys for 50 years, except Hoppy and Clayton (former coaches) when I bumped into them by chance about 20 years ago.
‘It was quite unbelievable to see them all again. We always had a lot of fun together.
‘They looked very different but once you chat to them and see them smile, you realise they are all just the same. People don’t age mentally, we all still think we are young – it’s just physically that we age.’
In a bid to create a legacy and encourage current teams to stay in touch, the 1962 team presented the current team with a trophy – a rugby ball which they had all signed. They requested that a similar trophy be awarded to player of the season, signed by all their teammates, each year.
Grammar school head James Priory said: ‘Our current first 15s were inspired when they met the 1962 team. They couldn’t believe the camaraderie they still had after all this time.
‘It’s made them realise how strong a bond they have and important it is to keep in touch with each other after they leave school.’