Thousands gather to bid farewell to old Epping school building and look to future

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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sub Editor

Nostalgia and hope for the future is being shared by thousands of past and present pupils, teachers and community members at a school’s last hurrah.

St John’s School in Epping is hosting the fete and show at the site in Tower Road that will be vacated when classes move to a new purpose-built school nearby in September.

Old photographs of the school are being shared and people from across its 50-year history are getting together to swap memories during the event, which runs until 5pm.

An estimated 4,000 have come through the school gates so far today.

Former deputy head Janette Smith, who was visiting after leaving 18 months ago to teach abroad, said: “This is a relatively small school with a huge heart.

“It will continue to be that, as is shown here today, with the massive turn out.”

Former head of art, Helen Turner, said: “It’s sad today, but it’s been really exciting to see people from all walks of life and generations.”

Current pupil Jaymey McIvor, 14, was among those organising tours of the current school .

He said: “A lot of the current students’ parents and some grandparents were pupils, so there have really been visitors spanning the school’s history.”

Among the stalls and arena events at the fete are the Royal British Legion, which is showing its research on the war heroes the school’s houses are named after.

There are also activities such as wellie throwing, teachers’ karaoke, tombolas and a stall where people can smash plates provided by parents and the town’s Sue Ryder shop.

The arena includes performances by Academy Arts and birds of prey.


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