Old Boys Reunion 2012 - a report on the event:

Friday, July 13th sounds like a day for unusual synergies. Some say that Friday 13ths are special; things go wrong. They are right up there with walking under ladders and stepping on the cracks in pavements. However, Friday the 13th, just gone, was amazing. The stars were definitely aligned in the heavens. Past pupils and teachers from St Edwards College Cheswardine in Shropshire who attended in the 1950s and 1960s gathered at The Monro, a gastro pub set within an area of old industrial buildings in Liverpool’s dockland.
The garish lights of the pub spilled out onto the damp grey streets and gathering dusk of Liverpool. The place was heaving, partly filled with fifteen former St Edwards College members. Some of us had never met before, most had not seen each other for forty years or more. It seemed to me as though everybody connected immediately. The warmth of greetings and the talk began and didn’t end.
We had drinks in the bar and then moved to our tables at about 8pm. It was a cosy affair, two sets of tables next to each other and we all squeezed in. Two brothers from St Francis Xavier’s in Woolton joined us for the evening. Brother Jacques and Brother Romain. John Coffey’s wife Pat was with us too.
John Lodge and Jimmy Coffey reminisced and chatted with great enthusiasm. The years had rolled away. Two young men once again, reliving and remembering. Terry Harrington met his former teacher Gratton O’Brien, our most senior colleague that night. I was so grateful for Gratton’s interest in coming to the reunion. I first met Gratton at Brother Augustine’s funeral some weeks prior to this and he approached me then to ask if he could attend. Michael Billington, who is from my era at St Edwards College, was there with us. Michael had brought along one of his old exercise books with some unmarked work. Michael was hoping Gratton would mark his essay – albeit 40 years down the line. I think Gratton was impressed. Unfortunately he had forgotten to bring along his red marking pen.
John Coffey brought along Pat, his wife. She was very brave to join all of us old school mates. Tony McPhail told me at the end of the evening, when we were waiting outside The Monro for our taxi, that he had thoroughly enjoyed himself and was glad he had attended. Clive Baugh was over from Hamilton, Ontario staying for a few days with old friends and was able to attend our gathering too. I know he had a good time. Michael Hoskinson had a difficult drive from the depths of Surrey where he had been doing some work. That notorious part of the M6 near Birmingham was not behaving but he made it just in time to order his food. Brian Gallagher had come down from The Lakes especially for the reunion and his old chum Paul McKean, put him up for the night. Mike Hobbs and Terry Harrington both came right up to me, introduced themselves and the talk began.
Brother Peter Tracey joined us at the end of the evening and six of us spent the night at the brothers’ house at St Francis Xavier’s school. I would like to thank Peter for letting us stay and providing a great before-bedtime drink, or two, before we retired for the night. We all had so much to say, to communicate, to remember and to discover.
Everybody expressed positive reactions to the pub food. The lamb that I ordered was cooked well, presented tastefully and tasted wonderful. The service by two friendly, efficient and hardworking waitresses with a sense of humour was excellent. The evening was a great success.
Several people could not join us, such as Brian Slattery, Austin Hargreaves and Jim Howley. They expressed their regrets and their wish to attend further reunions. Barry Kirwin, who lives in Ontario, sent me a cheque for £50 to help with our bill so I would like to thank Barry wholeheartedly. It would be wonderful if one day he could join us at one of these reunions which may well be repeated in the future.

There have been earlier reunions. Michael Billington has been the instigator for gathering some of us from my St Edward’s generation on two occasions. His enthusiasm for collecting has inspired him to form an extensive collection of St Edwards memorabilia. He has a blazer and cap, old exercise bocks, textbooks, original letters to and from home with the fading letter headings. Letter headings like that were produced on a Banda machine. The smell of the Banda fluid came back to me immediately I read that particular document. Heady stuff and good for clearing a cold! He has football reports, team lists, signatures of his class mates and a great collection of photographs. They say some people can see into the future. Well, Michael is our archivist and his archive is so important to us all now.
John Lodge recently has set up a wiki site and that has enabled more past pupils to get in contact. It provides a platform for us to reminisce and meet each other online and – as a result of the reunion - in the flesh. It meant a lot to me to meet everybody last Friday and I know it meant a lot to everybody else too. Let’s do this again - soon. (Tony Grant)

Those attending were:
Michael Billington, PaulMcKean, Brian Gallaher, Michael Hoskinson, Tony Grant
John & Pat Coffey Jimmy Coffey, John Lodge, Terry & Joyce Harrington, Mike Hobbs Brothers Jacques, Romain & Peter

The next reunion is under consideration for 2013. The two primary options appear to be Jersey, or Cheswardine Hall.

Photo Gallery