December Newsletter

Old Godhelmian Association Newsletter (10)

December 2020

Dear Old Godhelmian,

Because of the Coronavirus global pandemic, the Committee decided to postpone the physical 90th Anniversary Reunion on Saturday 17th October 2020 until October 2021. However, a very enjoyable virtual Reunion took place in its stead. Below is a brief outline of the event. Look on the website for a fuller account and for some of the presentations and talks.

The 90th Anniversary Reunion of the County Grammar School Godalming (virtual) 17th October 2020

The event began promptly at 2.00 BST, although this meant a very early start for our friends in the United States and Canada and a late one for those in Australia and New Zealand. At the peak of the Zoom meeting there were 74 screens being used, but several people were sharing with friends or family, so the numbers may well have reached or even exceeded 80. Although the majority of participants were in England, notably of course Surrey, there were also members in Wales, Scotland and the Isles of Scilly. Several OGs now live in parts of Europe, in particular France, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy. North America was well represented, with members in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Canada. The Antipodes had OGs in Western Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

Sue Hindle (née Potts 65 – 72), a member of the committee and founding member of the current OGA, welcomed everyone and introduced the various sections of the afternoon.

The first event was a virtual tour of the old building, filmed and narrated by Marian Muskett (née Wakefield 73 – 80). She was in the final intake to the Grammar School in 1973 and is now working at Godalming College.

Shirley Coleman (65 – 72) introduced the new OGA web site and showed the Zoom guests the various aspects of it.

Rod Weale (70 – 77) gave a moving talk about the Second World War Memorial at Godalming College. He spoke briefly about the sixteen ex-Godalming Grammar School pupils who lost their lives in the conflict. He has written a book “To the End, to the End, They Remain” vol. 2 which is available for purchase. Please contact via the website (

Jane Jopson (née Harris 67 – 74) introduced the list of teachers which she has compiled.

The School song (1950, by Dr. Reginald Hunt, music teacher at the Grammar School) was sung by Hazel Freeston and Cherry Webb (47 – 54). Twin sisters Cherry and Hazel (White) started at the grammar school in 1947 and found that there were 3 pairs of twins in their class of 30. They later became joint head girls in 53/54.

Paul Ellison (67 – 74) played the organ of the Church of the Advent of Christ the King, San Francisco (“When Morning Gilds the Skies”, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”, Marche en Rondeau by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, “Lord Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing”, Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke) to accompany a slide show of photos of Godalming Grammar School through the years.

Marta Riddle (née Grabiec 65 – 72) gave the answers to the quiz that she had created.

Ann Eatwell (65 – 72) read from her diary about two contrasting school visits to the theatre.

Chris Holdsworth (67 – 72) took part in a Q and A (with Sue Hindle) about being a new girl from the North and how tricky it was to settle in.

Joan Palmer (née Charleson 49 – 54) talked about her singing career. Once she discovered singing at school, academic subjects flew out of the window, and after she left, she felt guilty about not achieving more academically. However, she gradually came to realise that singing is a talent and that, for her at least, it has helped her to have a productive life.

Jo Collet (née Robbins 38 – 43) talked about the outbreak of the Second World War and the evacuees who came to Godalming Grammar School from Sir Walter St. John’s Grammar School of Battersea, London.

Caroline Brooks (née Bailey 66 – 73) Treasurer gave a vote of thanks for donations.

Photos were taken before the assembly broke up into small breakout groups – approx. 16 groups of 6 in two 15-minute sessions. During the final remarks the Old Godhelmians were unmuted individually so that they could say something brief to the whole group.

The Reunion ended with a farewell and a toast by President Shirley Coleman.  She gave an invitation to the Godalming Grammar School Reunion in October 2021. Widor’s Toccata, which was always performed on Founders’ Day, was then played from a recording.

Although this was not mentioned on the day of the Reunion, we should like to add the significant contributions made by Kay White and Mike Brayshaw in the running and organisation of the OGA in previous years.

The feedback from the event was very positive, and although Zoom can never replace face-to-face meetings, it was an extremely useful tool in difficult times, and may prove helpful again in the future.

Provisional Plans for Reunion 2021

9th October 11.00 to 5.00 at the College followed by 5.00 to 11.00 at the Inn on the Lake.


Quite a number of Reunion memories are now on the OGA website and there will, hopefully, be more to come. We are exploring the idea of having a real-time live stream chat room, so that people can ask and answer questions and make appropriate comments.

We welcome our new committee member, Annette Ettorre, who lives in Italy. Annette brings a business head to the committee and has already made a number of useful suggestions on how we can move forward.


  • To date (December 2020) 411 people have confirmed their membership of the OGA and 100 people have registered on the Website.
  • Please register on the website ( in order to access the full range of information and photographs.

Essential Information


  • We would like to thank you for the kind donations which have been made so far.
  • You can now make donations through the website ( using the secure Stripe system. Just follow the instructions on the screen.
  • If you prefer to send your donation electronically or by cheque please contact: Caroline Brooks, (


 The website ( has been updated by Richard Hindle with support from Mary Pugh and is now live.

  • Archive material (photographs, obituaries, history, etc.) from the original website has mostly been retained.
  • We are adding more material all the time.


  • We would be grateful for GGS images, in high definition. Until further notice, please send in digital form to Eleanor (

 Social Media

  • Currently there are three Facebook pages for ex-pupils of Godalming Grammar School:
    • GGS School Reunion 2017 (a closed group set up for that specific purpose)
    • Godalming Grammar School Reunion (a public group set up for a specific reunion)
    • Godalming Grammar School (a closed general group)
  • Godalming College has a Facebook page.
  • There is another interesting Facebook page for Godalming Town Past & Present.
  • Twitter – @Godalming Grammar School, @ Godalming College
  • Instagram – Godalming College

Finally, in these very difficult times, we would like to wish you all

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Let’s hope we can all be together in 2021.


Eleanor Andrews (née Whitcombe) – Secretary

Caroline Brooks (née Bailey) – Treasurer

Shirley Coleman – President

Annette Ettorre (née Pickford)

Hazel Freeston (née White)

David Hayes

65 – 72

66 – 71

65 – 72

65 – 72

47 – 54

66 – 71

Susan Hindle (née Potts)

Jane Jopson (née Harris)

Mary Pugh (née Pout)

Marta Riddle (née Grabiec)

Judy Stoker (née Bennett)

Steve Teague

65 – 72

67 – 74

65 – 72

65 – 72

55 – 62

70 – 77


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