In a class of their own

THE Grafton High School class 3B of 1952 have done something very rare.

Nearly 60 years after completing the Intermediate Certificate, the men and women, now in their 70s, are firmer friends now than when they left school.

On the second Wednesday of every month a group of around a dozen, sometimes more, sometimes less, along with partners they have picked up along the way, meet for coffee and a chat.

And for the rest of the class, scattered around the planet, the relatively modern innovation of email allows the group to remain in contact, share memories and recount tales both tall and true.

One of its number, Neil Morris, is at a loss to explain how the group has kept in contact when the most common experience of school friends is the almost inevitable trend to drift apart.

"We've done this virtually since we left school," he said.

"It hasn't mattered where we lived. Years ago Marie (Rogers, nee Clark) and Joyce (Betts, nee Kearney) lived in Sydney, but they would meet at Revesby.

"Even when they were away from the place (Grafton) they would keep that bond."

Part of the secret might be the efforts of classmate Eric Duroux, who last year published a Friendship Book of the life stories of class members.

"I got people to write down stories of their lives and put them into a book," he said.

Mr Duroux is also compiling a book about staff and students of Grafton High who served in wars.

"Email's a great thing, I've been able to gather 400 photos of fellows who served in the war," Mr Duroux said.

"I will put up a lot of these photos for the centenary celebrations when it happens next year."

With the centenary of Grafton High School approaching next Easter, some of the talk around the table has arrived at that topic.

"We natter about things and the subject comes up and we plan a few things," said Mrs Betts.

"We talk about things that come up, what people are doing and who's fallen off the perch."

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