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It was all smiles at Roedean, despite the inclement weather, as old friends gathered together to catch up and reminisce on school days.
2011 Reunion at Roedean Day attracted exceptionally high numbers of attendees with over 180 former students, family and staff members returning – many for the first time since their leaving date.
Old girls who attended as students from the 1940’s through to the current day, revisited the school to mark/enjoy the end of Roedean’s 125 year celebrations and to reunite for their own individual milestone anniversaries – with parties celebrating 10, 20, 30, 40 and 60 'Years On’ reunions.
Throughout the day, Old Roedeanians relived happy memories of life at Roedean by enjoying a busy programme of activities, including a wonderful dance and drama showcase by current girls, taking tours around their former boarding houses, marveling at exquisite Art displays and reminiscing over old photos and memorabilia in the Archive exhibition.
Girls reconnected with old school friends and teachers over drinks in the Cloisters and made new acquaintances with Headmistress, Frances King and Karyn Kelly the new Alumni Relations Officer. This year's school leavers were formally welcomed to the Old Roedeanians' Association (the "ORA").
After sharing stories over a fabulous lunch in the Studios, the happy group enjoyed a bracing walk in the sunshine and a trip down the tunnel to revisit the beach, and then made their way across the cliff tops to enjoy House 1’s victory at Sports Day and cheer on the Old Roedeanians to a hard fought and well deserved second place in the ‘Golden Mile’ relay race.
Enjoying the hospitality and shelter of the Strawberry Tea marquee, and from comments posted on our Facebook page, ORs summed up the day as follows:
• Charlotte Barton (Lion, No.1, 1985-91) - 20 Years On reunion group and Golden Mile runner wrote - 'Even though I'm nearer 40 than 30 and have a sixth month old baby, I still have the running bug! Mrs Romanov I'm still as mad keen on sport as I was at school. You were the one who got me so into sport!'
• Georgia Bolter (Hawkins, No.1, 1986-91) 20 Years On reunion group said, '[It’s been] brilliant to see everyone. No-one seems to have changed a bit - what a lovely day. Although the school looked somewhat crumblier than I remembered, you all looked even more gorgeous.'
• Naoko Watanabe (No.1, 1985-88) who travelled all the way from Japan for reunion wrote: 'It was AMAZING to see you all again!! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and all the LOVE!!!'
• Emily Pluthero (Campbell, No.3, 1979-88) - 'WHAT FUN today was. Well done to all who had a hand in it and I LOVED seeing everyone. No-one's changed. And a big shout out to Julia Mackworth for our treasure hunt :-).'
• Sasha Glynn, (No.1, 1980-87) President ORA - 'A huge thank you to all who supported and took part in one way or another. It’s official - we rock!'
• Gillian Smellie (Aikin, No.1, 1973-81) 30 Years On reunion group organiser and Year Rep said: '[I have] had the most astonishing and almost surreal weekend, am feeling a little overwhelmed, incredibly happy and rather proud of my contemporaries, we are a pretty impressive bunch :-).'
• Janet Garwood (Ing-Simmons, No.4, 1947-51), known as "Jing", 60 Years On reunion wrote to say: 'My husband Freddie and I really enjoyed our visit to Roedean 15 years since the last visit. It was especially good to meet my friend Gillian Mackenzie (Richards, No.3, 1947-51) who started school with me in 1947. I was particularly impressed by the sympathetically done extensions, especially the theatre auditorium and the two dancing halls, and it was good to see the new dining halls for pupils. In my day, we had to return to our houses for all breaks and meals. This new system must make it easier for the girls to have friends in other Houses. We admired the very high standard of the art exhibitions and were impressed by the variety of the skills and artistic imagination on show.'
Some of those who were unable to attend sent the following messages:
• Annie Romanov (former staff, 1977-2002) - 'A wonderful photographic record, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to attend. I can’t believe how quickly the last 25 plus years have gone by.'
• Tara Montgomery (No.2, 1981-87) - 'What a day--on behalf of those of us overseas, wish we'd been there.'
Order photographs of the day from Graham Franks (£5 each)