Cosham school pals

FIFTY-seven years ago, the Year 11 students of Portsdown Girls School put their pencils down and left their classroom for the last time.

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 10:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th April 2019, 11:44 pm
Organiser Jan Good, 72, with her friend Phyllis Laline, 72, who now lives in Connecticut, USA Picture: Malcolm Wells (190410-6836)

YesterdayWEDS the class of 1962 reunited. During a catch-up last summer best friends Jan Good and Phyllis Laline decided it was high time they got all the girls back together again.

Jan said: ‘We were sat in the garden talking about our reunion back in ‘93 and we thought it would be really lovely to have another one.

‘I myself moved to Australia with my husband and absolutely loved living there and regretted coming back at all but we thought it would be nice to catch up with what everyone has been up to since we left school all those years ago.’

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A picture in The News in 1961

Phyllis also upped sticks after school and made the move to Connecticut when she was 18 and loved it so much she stayed there permanently.

The 72-year-old, in a mixed Portsmouth and American accent, said: ‘I went over there to be a nanny and I loved it so much that I never came back.

‘I stayed in touch with a few people including Jan so when I went to visit her last year that was when we made our plan for a school reunion to hear what everyone else had got up to.’

The pair set about drawing up a list of the 45 members of their class at the school, that was on Southampton Road in Cosham – part of Queen Alexandra Hospital is now built on what was once the school’s playing fields.

Jan Good organised the 'Class of '62 Reunion at The Carlton Club in Portsdown Avenue, Portsmouth All of the ladies had been pupils at what was the Portsdown School in Cosham, Hampshire, leaving in 1962 Picture: Malcolm Wells (190410-6832)

Jan, 72, said: ‘We managed to get 35 people on the list which I think it is a pretty good effort and everyone was really happy to be involved and come along to a reunion.

Phyllis added: ‘It took us quite a long time to find everyone and my husband said to me he thought we were taking longer to organise a reunion than others.

He said when I go to a reunion I just get told and turn up but I told him that is because men keep the same name all their lives but women change their surnames when they get married so it makes finding everyone quite difficult.

‘It wasn’t an obstacle we thought about at first but Jan and I worked together, she did the admin and I did the calling and we got there in the end.’

Most of their classmates had settled nearby with a few making the trip from places including Staffordshire, Shropshire and Leicester to the party held at The Carlton Club in Cosham.

The group caught up on each others lives, gossiped about things that had happened and reminisced about their favourite school memories.

Phyllis added: ‘We had a lot of fun at school, we had some terrific teachers and my favourite thing about school was we had these beautiful french doors that concertina-ed so we could look out over the athletic fields during the nice weather.

‘It was all very nostalgic and I think there is a nice irony to that fact we all started our lives together and near the end we have reunited again.’