July 22 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Old girls and staff recalled the highs and lows of school days with affection as they enjoyed a reunion 20 years after the closure of their college.
Nearly 200 former pupils, teachers and other school staff from Felixstowe College got together from all over the country to reminisce and catch up.
The college – which was sited over a sprawling 27-acre campus at Old Felixstowe – was one of the country’s top independent girls’ schools, attended by the daughters of the wealthy from home and abroad.
Its official visitor was the Princess Royal, who would regularly attend speech days and openings of new facilities, though the school famously rejected Princess Diana as a prospective student because of her poor academic record and because she was painfully shy as an 11-year-old.
The reunion was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the college’s closure and included the chance to visit some of the old boarding houses, where ex-students re-created a photo they found of a house tea on the lawn in the 1940s. In the evening, there was a buffet at the Orwell Hotel in Hamilton Road, with the chance to see college memorabilia – including a mannequin dressed in the school uniform – and photos and swap stories of high jinks and old friends.
Reunion organiser Emilie Moon, who was a Ridley House student from 1987 to 1992, said it had been a great event with ex-pupils and staff from the 1950s through to girls who were there when the school closed in 1994 attending, with people travelling from the Far East, USA, Spain, Bermuda, Dubai and France. Among the guests was Mrs Dawn Cuthbertson, who as Miss Dawn Guinness was headmistress from 1979-1988.
She said: “Many of the residents of the now privately-owned boarding houses opened their doors during the afternoon to allow ex-staff and pupils in. The evening do was a great success and a rousing rendition of the school hymn was sung. The event was so successful, we are planning another in 10 years’ time.”
Felixstowe Ladies’ College opened in 1929 under headmistress Miss ME Clarke. Over the next 65 years it would have just seven heads.
In 1994, beset with financial problems and declining numbers which saw the student roll fall from 340 girls to 170 in just seven years, the fee-paying school closed.
Its sports hall later became Brackenbury Sports Centre, while the grounds were sold off for housing, buildings converted to homes and residential care homes.
Are you looking to meet up with old school friends or former team mates? Send us details of where and when you went to school, or where the club was based, and any photos you may have, and we will run an appeal both online and in print.