Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Many people leave school at 16 or 18 and then lose touch with former classmates and teachers. But it's not necessarily like that for hundreds of ex-pupils of Brigg Grammar School, Brigg Girls' High School, Sir John Nelthorpe School and Brigg Sixth Form College.
For the Briggensians' Association helps keep them in touch, hosting an annual dinner and sporting reunions and producing a comprehensive annual newsletter which is sent all round the world - by email and post.
There is also a popular website
And if that wasn't enough, some former classmates arrange get-togethers of their own.
News of the latest of these comes courtesy of David Booth, a former Brigg Grammar pupil who says three people who left BGS in 1972 met up again in Oxford - 15 years since they had last seen each other.
David explains: "The occasion was The Queen’s College Boar's Head Gaudy (yes, with a real boar's head brought to the Provost at High Table accompanied by choristers), but don’t let that put off any current students thinking about Oxbridge.
"The occasion is uniquely traditional, having started in the 14th century and being held originally on Christmas Day, and is only the prelude to some very good food and wine.
The reunited trio were Paul Reilly (who had studied modern languages), Dr Martin Green (chemistry), and David himself (mathematics, and football).
Paul has been living near Paris for several years, working as a translator. Martin is now living near Cambridge, still working for Unilever - he mentioned that he was still in touch with Richard Neish and Stuart Fox, colleagues from his two years in the Boarding House at Brigg Grammar.
David adds: "We were all of the 1965–1972 cohort (although Martin came to the school in 1970). There were four of us who went to Oxford (Simon Bradburn chose Christ Church, the rest of us Queen’s) – and at the time this was seen as an excellent achievement by a small (360-strong) country state-funded grammar school.
"Oxbridge entrants were one of the ways in which schools could demonstrate academic success. No league tables then, of course – although I suspect that BGS would have ranked very highly in terms of the 'added value' - academic, sporting, and social – that it gave all its pupils. We became students only when we went to University!
"We weren’t the most successful year in this respect, though – two or three years earlier an exceptional five had won Oxbridge places, several ably tutored by the renowned and very dedicated Harry Stinson, who never missed an opportunity to use their example to try to spur us mathematicians on to greater efforts.
"The headmaster, Brian Williams, was also influential and very supportive in his customary quiet and wise way."
Watch Brigg Blog and the Brigg Extra page of the Scunthorpe Telegraph for details of March's Briggensians' annual dinner. If you haven't been before, it's well worth considering. You could well bump into someone you haven't seen for years.
This Blog entry is being compiled in the Scunthorpe Telegraph office as the clock approaches 3am on Boxing Day morning and we/I put the finishing touches to today's paper. Some old boys of Brigg Grammar might taste the high life at Oxford University social events but for others things can be a great deal more mundane. Clearly I should have paid much more attention in Mr Stinson's lessons!

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