150 Come ‘Back to School’
On Friday 12 October, the school hosted 150 alumni and their partners for a ‘Back to School’ Day for those who left prior to 1975. With representatives spanning five decades, including former staff from this golden era, it was fantastic to see so many Reigatians back at their alma mater.
The day was beautiful, although a little ‘blowy’ but it did not deter those who travelled from far flung parts of the UK in order to attend. Upon arrival guests enjoyed some refreshments in the Sports Hall with the opportunity to reminisce and connect with former classmates. In many cases, these friendships had lain dormant for over 40 years.
Segmented by decade and year group Reigatians were guided to a table of contemporaries making the process of finding familiar faces a little more straightforward! Books of photographs from bygone RGS days adorned the tables and were inspected (some politely embellished!) sparking memories and childhood stories from growing up in Reigate.
Official proceedings began with a welcome and an introduction from the Headmaster, Shaun Fenton who warmly welcomed everyone back and presented a short video of the RGS Year in Review, capturing the vast array of activities and studies enjoyed by current students. The Headmaster also accepted, on behalf of the school library, copies of ‘The Dyslexic Advantage’ donated by David Wasdell (‘60) and ‘Fuelling the Wars – PLUTO and the secret pipeline network 1936 – 2015’ written by Tim Whittle (‘69).
It was then time for our guests to tour the school with the opportunity to walk along familiar corridors, visit former classrooms and witness new developments that have popped up across the expanded campus. Guests were impressed by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable second form pupils who were wonderful tour guides for the day. A combination of being excused from lessons and the prospect of Half Term starting that afternoon, ensured that each tour was extremely thorough and detailed! One of the most popular stops was the newly refurbished ‘Old Library’ that had previously been used for whole school assemblies, drama performances and physical education.
Returning tourists were taken back to the Sports Hall and treated to a delicious ‘old school’ choice of cottage pie, sausage and mash or veggie pie, followed with spotted dick and lashings of custard. After lunch Head of Foundation Sean Davey and Reigatian Community Officer Caroline Donald, took the floor to highlight the importance of sharing and capturing stories via our Foundation publications to ensure that these precious memories are kept alive.
The day was also marked by the launch of the new Changing Lives legacy campaign video and raising awareness of the impact of legacy gifts and how they can change young lives. The RGS Foundation encourages any support, be it donating a book, photos, stories or materials for the archives, donating to a really important cause, or as is discussed in the story in the video, by considering leaving a gift in your Will. For more information about Legacy Giving and supporting the Changing Lives campaign please contact the RGS Foundation Office.
If you would like to discuss any ideas you have with us, please do get in touch.
Many have written since with their thanks and comments on the day:
“What a fantastic experience meeting some old, (and very old), school friends at the Back to School Day. Special thanks should go to the tour guides who were allocated to our table, who excelled in providing answers to every question we posed.”
“The final touch of including a selection of items for lunch which exactly mirrored my own recollection of the fare on offer at Annandale during my time, (vino excepted of course), was a brilliant masterstroke!”
“RGS was hugely impressive, as were the two second form tour guides who took such obvious pride in showing us its many features. We could not resist the temptation of occasionally relating to them what it had been like in our day.”
“What made the day a special treat was the warmth of welcome, and the chance to tour the campus… so much can be learned about the ethos and quality of any school when seeing it at work and play.”
If you would like to see a list of those who were in attendance please contact the Foundation Office on 01737 229300 or email