A HALF-CENTURY reunion and guided tour is being planned for former Gilberd School students.

It is being organised by Richard Parker, who is getting ready to mark the 50th anniversary of his time there with a get-together for past pupils who started in 1971.

It will be held at the Colchester Sixth Form College on North Hill, which is the site of the old Gilberd School.

Former head of the upper school Eddie Ross will be joining past pupils to provide a guided tour of the old school. He taught there between 1966 and 1985.

Richard said: “Our first day was actually September 7, 1971 but we’ve booked the reunion as close as we can to that date, on Saturday, September 4.

Gazette: Sixth form - this picture was taken in 1977-78. Richard said: "You had to wear a jacket and tie in sixth form but some of us had three-piece suits. One even had a bowler hat". Pictured from the top are Richard, Neil Frost, Graham Clow, Ian

“I only have happy memories of the Gilberd.

“I’m sure there were sad ones but I’ve long forgotten them.

“Most people did well academically but not me, which was my fault and not that of the school.

“It was a case of too little work and too much sport!

Read more >> How Royal British Legion in Colchester survived 'tough' year to continue 'lifeline' work

Gazette: Sticky wicket - the Gilberd old boys cricket team, pictured in the early 1980s. Among those pictured are David Simpson (scorer), Richard Parker, Colin Scott, Richard Polley, Alan Drury, David Bridgeman, David Holmes, Mark Paget (umpire), Graham Clow, Mr

“From 15 onwards, I’d play sport twice a weekend, every weekend – Saturday for school, Sunday for my club. And that’s not including midweek training!”

Richard has fond memories of winning silverware during his time at the Gilberd.

“When forced together with people of different backgrounds, you slowly gravitate around shared interests,” he said.

“For me, it was always sport, mainly rugby and cricket.

Read more >> Inside the 5 most expensive properties listed on Zoopla for sale in Colchester

“My only school award was the first-ever Springett Sportsman of the Year, in 1978.

“I was standing on the shoulders of giants – Michael, Roger and Steve Springett – brothers who all went to the Gilberd. They were outstanding athletes at every sport.

“Incredibly, about ten years ago, I was in Anglia Trophies and there was the Springett Award, sent for engraving by the school over 30 years later. My name was still on it! It’s nice to be remembered.”

Gazette: Back to school - Richard Parker, back at the old Gilberd

Mr Parker took a host of photos during his time at the school and, in addition to those shown here, you can view the rest of his collection at Mr Ross’ Gilberd School photos website - eddiesgilberdschoolphotos.blogspot.com

Richard would love to hear from any former students who started at the Gilberd in 1971 and are interested in attending the reunion.

Gazette: Team spirit - the Gilberd’s volleyball team in 1977. Among those pictured here are Richard Parker, Graham Clow, David Baker, Steven Hall and Gareth Rees

“We’re hoping as many people as possible can join us for our 50th anniversary,” he said.

“As this might be our ‘final assembly’, we’d also be delighted if staff or other past pupils who were at the school in the 1970s would like to join us.”

For more information about the reunion, contact Richard by email via boyrich@talk21.com or through the Facebook group ‘Gilberd 71-78: Final Assembly’.