Class of 1973 Leavers 50th Anniversary Reunion

Thanks to an initiative by Richard Hey [Heath 1966–1973] a 50th anniversary lunchtime reunion of old boys who departed Heath in 1973 was held on Wednesday at Southwood House, Birdcage Lane, Savile Park.

Group photograph of 22 old boys in four rows on the steps in front of Southwood House

It took half a century, but 23 of the cohort of pupils who started their secondary education at Heath Grammar School in 1966 got together at Southwood House in October 2023 after leaving school in 1973 (some had left two years earlier after ‘O’ levels).

The thought of a reunion after 50 years had probably crossed many of our minds but it took the energy and enthusiasm of Richard Hey to make it happen. Starting with very little information, Richard used social and other media to contact long lost classmates and these, in turn, either contacted or provided information on others.

So as to give ourselves a starting point other than: ‘What have you been doing these last 50 years?’ everyone was asked to write a short narrative of their life since leaving Heath. These narratives proved fascinating and showed that we had all enjoyed careers from Finance to Science and most things in between. Some of us had not returned to Halifax since leaving university, some had left and come back and some had stayed all the time. Biographies were also provided by some of the widows and partners of classmates who, sadly, are no longer with us.

Since the reunion we have managed to make contact with several more former classmates, who have also submitted a short narrative of their life over the last fifty years. We will be putting these all together in a short e-booklet as a souvenir of the event.

Knowing that people’s features change after 50 years we were all provided with name badges to aid recognition. These proved invaluable as very few people recognised very few others. We all had access to the 1973 Prefects photograph and the ‘whole school’ photographs of 1968 and 1971; it was interesting comparing the faces on these to those at the reunion!

In the best Heathen tradition lunch was preceded by and closed with grace in Latin and, after three hours of constant conversation, thoughts turned to another reunion in, perhaps, five years time. We’ll see!

Kirby Watson [Heath 1966–1973]