Big reunion of former Harrogate school pupils and staff after 25 years

Dozens of former Harrogate pupils and teachers gathered for a pre-Christmas reunion lunch.

Friday, 31st December 2021, 2:58 pm
Updated Friday, 31st December 2021, 3:02 pm
Reunion at Ashville College in Harrogate - Ex-Sanatorium Sister Casey Roberts; former teacher Karen Rutter, Ashvillian Society Vice President Beth Hartwell, and current teacher Fiona Adamson.

For a number of past pupils, it was the first time they had ventured back to Ashville College in more than quarter-of-a-century.

The 1985-1995 ‘Decades Lunch’, staged by the Ashvillian Society – the College’s alumni association - was to celebrate those who either attended the Harrogate independent school as pupils, or taught or worked there during that period.

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Postponed by more than a year due to Covid, those attending included the 1997 hockey captains, Mark Ryder and Sarah Nami, former Sanitorium sister Casey Roberts, former teachers George Wise, Karen Rutter, Sally Ellis and Andi Barker, and current teachers Peter Forster and Fiona Adamson.

Also amongst the attendees were Helen Prince and Debbie Barrett, who were amongst the first cohort of girls to join the pupil roll call in 1982, when Ashville became co-educational after 105 years of being a boys’ only institution.

In addition to catching up with former classmates and teachers, it was an opportunity to meet Rhiannon Wilkinson, who joined Ashville in September as the College’s eleventh and first female Head.

Following a drinks reception in the Soothill Hall foyer, the lunch was served in the dining room, which has just reopened following a major £1m programme of investment.

Ashvillian Society President Ian Brown said: “After a delay of 13 months, it was great welcome more than 30 ‘Old Ashvillians’ and their teachers to this latest Decades Lunch.

“I’d like to thank the College for hosting this event and to the catering team for serving such a fantastic school dinner, which was a far cry from ones I was used to eating 40 years ago.

“It was also pleasing to note that whilst the dining room has undergone a major facelift, the oak refectory benches and tables, which have been an Ashville feature for more than half a century, have not been replaced, and are still being used to this day.”

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