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'Old Wits' school reunion attended by former pupils dating back to class of 1938

Published Thursday 24th of July 2014 12:11:22 PM

Former pupils from near and far converged on King Edward's School, Witley for a special reunion on Saturday June 28th.

For the 'Old Wits' as they are collectively known, it was not just a jog down memory lane to relive their memories, but also a chance to enjoy lively conversation about the present as they caught up with old friends at one of Surrey's leading independent co-educational day and boarding schools.

King Edward's School, which moved to its beautiful 100-acre setting in rural Surrey in 1867, has a long list of illustrious pupils who have become influential in the world of, business, sport, entertainment and politics. The day provided a chance for all of them to mix on the same stage and share their stories.

Both spectators and players enjoyed an afternoon of friendly rivalry during the Old Witleians v Staff/Pupils tennis and cricket matches. Old Witleians not participating in the sport were treated to a presentation on the school's history by Marilyn Wilkes, the school archivist and Old Witleians Association (OWA) Heritage Ambassador.

VIP guest was Bertie Mawer, 88, the longest-serving surviving member of staff who has a 65-year association with the School. Bertie taught from 1949-1986 and is known by all the Alumni. He's also written the School history 'Bridewell to Witley, King Edward's School 1553-2000.'

The oldest 'Old Wits' attending, including several octogenarians (the oldest was 87 year old Arthur Dudley, who will be 88 in August) , were from 1938-47, the era when the School was moved from the Witley site to nearby Hambledon following the requisition of the Witley site by the Admiralty, for top secret naval radar research. These ex-pupils were part of a world that was about to be turned on its head with World War II looming. 1938 was the year when Adolf Hitler was Time magazine's ''Man of the Year'', King George VI was monarch, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave his first Peace for our Time speech, Test Cricket was televised for the first time and The Beano comic first went on sale.

Commenting on the event, Headmaster, John Attwater, said. 'The Old Wits annual reunion always proves to be very popular with former pupils and this year was no exception. Old Wits are passionate about what King Edward's School stands for and for what it continues to achieve and all share a special sense of belonging to our extended family. The reunion provides an opportunity to return to the school on a social level; to reminisce and to delve into the school's rich history.'

King Edward's School will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017 and next year will mark the 150th anniversary since the foundation stone was laid at Witley.
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