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School Memories


Dr N P Haworth (OS 1951)

“In my sporting career at the school I was very proud to be associated with Stockport Grammar Schools Tennis Team in the late fifties, under Mr Johnstone, first as Match Secretary and then as Captain. In my day the boys took the responsibility of obtaining the fixtures.

“The notable achievement during this time was winning the Area Finals in the Schools Major Tournament for Public Schools in the country. This entitled us to compete in the Finals at the Hurlingham Lawn Tennis Club in London. The four clubs involved played in a knock out competition with the result that we came third on both occasions. The weekend was very hot and the wonderful iced coffee was appreciated by all.

“It is noteable that during the Wimbledon fortnight the Hurlingham Club admits players to their courts which is close by.

“It was lovely to be reminded by the photograph of the first girls in the School that it included my daughter, Deborah.

“Since I was the youngest on the tennis team gaining my place in the Fifth Form. It would not surprise me that I am the last person from the Area Finalist Team.”

Paddy Blacker (OS 1961)

In the late fifties/early sixties, a small group of 5th and 6th Form pupils got together under the leadership of Sam (Peter) Spink to form a Traditional Jazz Band. Though we were not always that many, we called ourselves “The Ale House Eight” – simply because we liked the name.

The members and their instruments were:

Sam Spink (trumpet and leader)

John Goddard (trumpet initially transitioning to trombone)

Rick Salem (piano)

Paddy Blacker (banjo/uke –> banjo àclarinet and occasional alto sax)

Dave Whitely (trombone)

Neville (William) Cheetham (drums)

Ian Green (banjo and guitar)

Keith McKinnon (clarinet)

Gail Hardy (vocalist)

Keith Vernon (manager)

We were given the privilege of being allowed to go to 1st dinner and afterwards to meet in the Latin room by kind permission of Bingo (Donald) Roberts whose room it was, so that we could use the piano. This poor unsuspecting instrument had its top and front removed each day in order to increase the sound output . Friends from the 6th form who were long-suffering and probably tone deaf used to come along to spectate.

The music master (Mr Verney) had lent to John Goddard the school trombone – a great honour- as it was a silver one. John Goddard was with the band for only one year before he left to join the RAF. His place was taken by Dave Whitely.

A few weeks from its formation the members of the band had sufficient chutzpah to perform in public. The first gig was at the Marple Baths where we played with much gusto but little applause. Other gigs followed usually at friends’ parties On one auspicious occasion we played at the Withington Golf Club. We were given a small fee and as much beer as we wanted. The club secretary later remarked that it would have been much cheaper to have doubled our fee and to have made us pay for our own beer.

The band disbanded on our leaving school, the final gig being at the Christmas Ball in the year that we left.

These are my recollections. With the lapse of nearly 60 years they may not be completely accurate so please forgive me. One thing I know for certain is that we had a whale of a time!

Roger Nelson (OS 1955)

“I played for the Air Training Corps rugby team and was lucky enough to be selected to play for the Air Training Corps Western Division for their England squad, along with Peter Herrit.

“I remember being transported to London for a match against Ireland. We stayed overnight and we spent time in the Officer’s Mess. We played at Roslyn Park’s ground and beat Ireland. We were later taken to Twickenham to watch the full England Rugby Team play Ireland!”

Stephen R. Norris (OS 1972)

“I have fond memories of sailing at SGS with Donald Roberts at Toddbrook and Salcombe. Also 50 Squadron ATC with Ted Bromley, James Gosling and Graeme Patterson. Plus Geography/Ventures and outings with John Durnall. Significant mentors at school were Harry Avery, David Cassie, Graeme Patterson, Jim Swallow and Tony Leary.

“I’m still mad on sailing, racing dinghies, keel boats, offshore – anything with sails!”