THE centenary of an association for former pupils of a Basingstoke school was celebrated with a special event for members.

Queen Mary’s Old Boys Association was founded in 1924 by a group of 40 former pupils of the Basingstoke Queen Mary’s Grammar School, with encouragement from the then headmaster.

The grammar school was at the site of the now Vyne Community School, in Vyne Road, from 1938 to 1972.

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Basingstoke Gazette: The celebration at The Vyne SchoolQueen Mary's School for Boys owed its origin to Queen Mary in 1556 when the Chantry Chapel of the Holy Ghost was opened as the Holy Ghost School.  It then moved to a purpose-built structure in Worting Road in 1870 before moving to the Vyne Road site in 1938. 

Ninety members of the association marked 100 years of its existence with a celebratory event at The Vyne Community.

They were given a tour of the school and enjoyed lunch served by students as well as entertainment from pupils at The Vyne who chatted to the special guests about how much the school and events have changed.

Keynote speeches were given by Ron Crossman, a former pupil and master at the school who gave some amusing reminiscences of incidents, events and masters.

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Alan Wells, who also gave a keynote speech, proposed a toast to the association and made a plea for pupils from the latter years of the school to support the activities of the association to ensure it continues.

Memories were shared by members who also enjoyed looking at books dating back to the 1700s on display, as well as current student artwork.

The event concluded with everyone singing the former school’s song Spiritum Nolite Extinguere.

Former student Martyn Agass, who left in 1967, described the event as “a marvellous and most memorable occasion”. He said that the pupils “were an absolute credit” to the school, adding: “They were polite, attentive and confident.”

Nicola Pearce, headteacher of The Vyne School, said: “We were delighted to welcome the ‘old boys’ back to the school to reminisce about their years at Queen Mary’s and to rekindle old friendships. Our students were fantastic throughout and gained great catering experience and social skills.”