School Badge

Barbara Anne McDONOUGH (1965-1968)

OK - As I remember, we were the last year of High School.  I was in Forms 1C,2D,3D - maybe even 4D (it was a long time ago!) - and  we had a real ROGUES GALLERY all our very own - Susan Turnbull, Linda Cowie, Doreen Joicey, Patricia Parry and  a few others whose names will  come  with time.  I remember going on a 10-day cruise to Norway, Denmark & Holland - I  think that was in 1965? - Dr Henstock, if I remember correctly had some kind of breakdown and had to be shipped (literally) home!  I have a photo or two from the cruise - Carol Wilcox is a name  that springs to mind.  Miss  Graeme  was without a doubt the best teacher in the school - she was our form teacher for a couple of years and I am SURE she will remember me and the 6th form experiment I inadvertantly ruined!  Mr Calrow had to be the worst teacher - not only did he pick his nose,but I think we must have been the only high school girls in Gt Britain to study the Napoleonic Wars for 2 whole years!   Mr Tunnycliffe was very scary, Miss Harbottle sweet, and Mrs. Verity a tad more street-wise than we thought  at first. 

I have a school photo (with Miss Graeme) - I think it was form 3D or  4D -  Jimmy Reeky surely that's not how you spell it?!  was the "Vinnie Barbarino" of the day - he used to scale the wall religiously each break to have a smoke with us.  Some of the teachers  turned a blind eye - but woe betide the girl caught by Miss Raby  - she might just get more than she bargained for! - anyone  else remember her? 

Anyway, after leaving HHGS I  worked in Newcastle until I was 20, then married a Geordie lad and  emigrated to New Zealand. Now I live in Australia with my second husband, daughter and 4 step-children, and have only just discovered the internet (yesterday in actual fact).  I hope  some of this is of some help - let me know if you want any more ' goss'.

Anne MAKIN (now Wells) (1961-67)

I began at Heaton in the summer term as my family moved from Humberside. I already had a mixture of Lancashire/Yorkshire accents and now was going to learn a bit of Geordie! When I was told by a classmate that I would "get wrong" for having the wrong colour of aertex gym blouse, I wasn't sure what was in store for me ...

Our form mistress was Miss Matthew (nicknamed Matterhorn) who taught us Geography. I started off in 1B but was moved to 2A after my trial term. I loved languages (except Latin) and the music that Miss Davies played after assembly. One chastening experience was when those of us who went to piano lessons had to practise a hymn at home to play in class while the others sang, and it was a steep learning curve that a) you should choose a simple tune and b) you can't go back to correct wrong notes!! The class finished several notes before I did. Give me a guitar any day.

My friends in our class were Hilary Rolles and Catherine Charlton, I was also friends with Joyce Preacher and Margaret (Meg) Macdonald who lived near us. I got in touch with Joyce and Meg a few years ago via their parents' addresses. Meg lived in Scotland with her husband and two young sons and sadly died from MS after we'd corresponded for a couple of years. She was a year younger and was friends with Christine Kitchen. Joyce lives in Gosforth and recently became a Grandma.

Miss Clough, our long suffering Latin teacher, once had a sheep's jawbone placed on her desk or chair before a lesson. Mrs Hobson at our first German lesson produced lots of different coloured hankies with white spots and we learned the words for the colours. I seem to remember Mrs Verity mentioning the awful fact that her husband and daughter were drowned in a yachting accident in the Irish Sea. Miss Wilson who also taught us RE had once been in a convent and told us they had been taught how to suppress coughs and sneezes, and that we ought to be able to do the same. We had Miss Ingram for history until she left to get married. I always liked the clothes she wore and she was like a breath of fresh air. Mr Calrow was a disappointing substitute.

We had flower monitors who organised either plants or fresh flowers for the teacher's table. Our French teacher was allergic to flowers and they had to be put out in the corridor before her lessons. I think she was called Mrs Harding.

Does anyone else remember having charity money collections, and cake sales where our Mums had to bake buns etc to be sold for charity when it was the milk break? I was very shy and unobtrusive but maybe someone will remember me for collecting used stamps for the SCF.

I quite enjoyed the Open Days when we marched into the quad to a Souza march and there were displays of ballet, judo and gymnastics - I just did the marching and singing bit.

At one event that parents attended Dad horrified me by muttering "Here comes Father Christmas" when Doc H walked up the aisle from the back of the hall in her red University robes. I was terrified of her like many other pupils. It was so interesting to hear about the other side of her from the ex pupil in the USA, and amazing to think of her being "Auntie Constance".

When we went on a family holiday to Majorca when I was 15, Mum decided we should all wear our school blazers to travel in (three sisters all at different schools). Can you imagine any 15 year old nowadays agreeing to that!!

I love hearing a North East accent on the TV (if it's genuine) and when my middle sister turned 60, her birthday treat was a walk with us on the beach at Whitley Bay followed by a fish and chips tea.

Lots of people mention FEAN - we had her in 6th form. I was friends with Caroline Whitehead for that year. The more daring faction of our class opened her famous black book to have a look at it but I never knew what they found there.

I had to leave after lower 6th, this time the family moved to Cheshire. After completing another two years' 6th form I went to Bangor Uni where I studied languages and met my husband Harry. We have a daughter and two teenage grandchildren.

I'm really sorry that I didn't stay in touch with Hilary, Catherine and Caroline after writing for a while and if any of you read this I'd love to hear from you.

Cynthia MYNOTT (1966-73)

My first year was quite grim, getting used to the huge buildings with their gloominess and the strange damp-plimsolls smell that permeated the whole place. It was such a contrast to my bright new primary school (Mountfield). Very few of my primary school friends had passed the 11plus exam, only Anne Yellowley, Margaret Richardson, Jane Brennan, Lindsay Donnison, Helen Mordue, Phil Home and Ian Moysey that I can recall.

Heaton was still High School and Grammar at that point and with no legitimate contact with the boys’ side at all, but at the start of my second year, we went co-ed. We had thought that we might be oppressed by the boys and that we would be subject to all sorts of harassment; then they wheeled them in, the lads! They were so tiny and so clearly terrified of us (we were big gals, well-developed – young women really) and they  were these miniscule spotty-Walters; needless to say it was we girls who swiftly got the upper hand and had   years of keeping them in their place until, around fourth year, they suddenly started to grow and there were hormones everywhere.

Until quite recently, my contact with these school friends of both genders was waning – some I had lost altogether, with others it was just Christmas cards, then came the Reunion organised by Ann Graham and Freda Crabtree mainly. I met up again with Gordon Ferguson, Helen Green, Bob Harrison, Don Harrison and Ken Mawhinney. I saw Piers Lesser and Diane Hutchinson and gloriously, found Susan Hutton again. What bliss it was, we all became giggling 16 yr olds within minutes. Some folks were not there though and I was thinking particularly of Ann Harley (called Lynn Harl by MrCunningham and the name stuck), Jill Stuart and Val McGlashan. The latter two found fame in the first of the pantos, which in all modesty I have to say was my brainchild and I wrote and produced it. It quickly went into the annals of school history, Val choreographed a marvellous can-can (I was able to write this into the plot of Aladin somehow) and Jill was the front end of the pantomime horse, we did not do things by halves!

The horse costume was made by Jennifer Walton’s mam out of coathangers and papier mache, its body was an old army blanket and its legs were the legs of the girls inside wearing very thick tights and little else (it was hot in there!). We had slapstick from Eric Shepherd and Ken Mawhinney and a wonderful performance by Dickie Feltoe as Widow Twankie singing a solo of ‘hey big spender’. Our orchestra consisted of piano, violin, timpani and bassoon and Stephen Lewis bravely did the arrangements of pop sheet music I had borrowed from the library. Subsequent sixth forms upheld the newly-formed tradition and did panto productions every year.

Teachers I recall with great fondness were Mr Keir who helped to give me some confidence in myself, Sam’Fitter’ Armstrong whose science labs were full of daft carry-on of which he was completely oblivious – Susan Hutton and Margaret Walker sat under a bench once listening to the radio for the draw for the Fairs cup for instance. There was Mr Massey-Taylor who surveyed the girls in his class in September 1967 with chagrin saying “Now look here I have never had to deal with chapesses before” and “Pug” Walker whose career advice to me ran thus “I’ve just seen you in the school play and I think you should try for that RADA, you are a real comedian”, my reply was that I had hoped he could recommend something a bit more secure with a pension perhaps; how grimly he shook his chins at me “Well for heavens sake don’t become a teacher” he said.

I actually became a Probation Officer after years of drifting about. I only returned to Newcastle a few years ago but who should be sitting opposite me in our open plan office but Megan Elliot who had, like me floated into probation without realising it! Given the time we spent having fun at school, it is amazing how well our year did – the last of the old grammar school system – some became doctors, one a senior policeman, one a lieutenant commander in the Navy, a couple went into teaching despite the career advice and have become heads and principals. I loved school, it was laughter and companionship all the way.

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