Old Secondary School, Rocheway

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My memories

By Len Bickford

Old Rocheway School.

Although I never actually went to the school as it ceased to be a school at the start of the summer holidays in 1961 and I wasn't due to go until the start of the new term at the end of the holidays. Some of the teachers also moved schools - Mr Symes (Simes), Mr Gorner, Mr Pickering, Mr Wright, to name but a few. The new school was called Rochford Secondary Modern School and it was located in Vaughan Close, Ashingdon (later to become King Edmund Fully Comprehensive school, some time after 1965 when I left). However, as the new school playing field was not ready, we were bussed to the old school in Rocheway for our games lessons. My older brothers all went to the old school and I looked forward to going there too as I only lived just up the road in Weir Pond Rd so would not have had to travel too far.

Anyway, after the school closed it was part opened up as a Youth Unemployment office and part of the rest was opened as a Youth Centre. I used to go there as there was a cafe, snooker room, boxing etc in the old gym, table tennis, darts and lots of other activities there for all to enjoy. We even did archery in the gym in the winter months, then on the playing fields in the summer. If you wanted to just go for a social chat etc, then you could do this in the cafe area. I used to attend the Army Cadet unit that was based there - I attended for a few years. A Mr Prewer was in charge and Sgt Major Wright was 2nd in command. It was great fun and I really enjoyed the time there. We even started a small band with bugles and drums.

The youth club also did exchanges with the American airbase at Wethersfield, near Braintree -  they had dances and we held dances and each used to go to the others when they were on. As I recall, the girls got on better with the American kids than we boys did - I can't think why. lol.

This page was added by Len Bickford on 23/10/2017.
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