Toast of Paris – the World Cup-winning English girls from Portsmouth

The girls of St Teresa's Grammar School, Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, in Paris when England won the World Cup
The girls of St Teresa's Grammar School, Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, in Paris when England won the World Cup

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Yvette Pearcey will never forget the exact date the picture of ‘her girls’ was taken – July 31, 1966.

The happy bunch, seen at the foot of the page with Yvette, marked by a cross, were in Paris.

jpns-15-12-14 rw nostalgia0004''Where was Hoopers the wholesale tobacconists in Fareham?

jpns-15-12-14 rw nostalgia0004''Where was Hoopers the wholesale tobacconists in Fareham?

They were pupils at St Teresa’s Grammar School, in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, which had formerly been Daley’s Commercial School.

Yvette, who lives at North End, Portsmouth, says the Paris treat happened every two years.

She says: ‘We were walking down Boulevard St Michel – the girls in their uniform as it was the easiest way to identify them if they strayed away from the crocodile – and they knew their bright blue and green striped blazers attracted the attention of passers-by.

‘To our astonishment we were besieged by French people who were congratulating us.’

Neither Yvette nor the girls had a clue why this was happening.

‘I managed to ask a Frenchman and he seemed surprised. Didn’t we know? England had won the World Cup,’ she says.

Back at the school at which they were staying, the manager offered all of them wine and told Yvette she would have to make a speech.

‘Don’t forget madame, we have German groups staying here and one Portuguese group,’ he told Yvette referring to England’s victims in the final and semi-final respectively.

Yvette adds: ‘I said to my girls ‘‘let us stand and offer a toast to the losers. Without them we would not be winners’’ and everyone cheered, including the losers. Phew! I had averted the Third World War.

‘We had a merry evening after this and I had to keep a close watch on the amount of wine my girls we were sipping.’

Gerald Farmer, of Portchester, found the picture below among his late sister’s effects.

She used to work for Cooper’s, a wholesale tobacconists which once operated from High Street, Fareham.

Gerald thinks it probably dates from the 1960s but wonders if readers can supply more information about the firm and exactly where its premises were.