The Final Reunion took place at Balls Park on Saturday 21st June 2003. This
was the last event at Balls Park prior to the closure of the college and its
transfer to the new owners, City & Country Residential Ltd. Nearly 500
old students and guests attended the reunion, including 10 from the first
intake of students in 1947. Nearly every year was represented. Evening entertainment
was provided by 'Candyman', a group featuring ex-students from the seventies,
and a disco provided by ex-Radio Caroline DJ Roger "Twiggy" Day,
who had played at many Balls and Dances in the past. Guest of Honour was Dr
Paul Sangster and his wife, Mary. A number of former members of staff were
also in attendance. There were still about 200 people dancing the night away
when the reunion came to a close at 2.30 am.
The old buildings and grounds seemed much the same, if looking a bit tired and neglected. One can only hope that the new owners will have the funds that the University lacked to renovate in a sympathetic manner. The Hostel site was already being cleared prior to the bulldozers moving in, and crates were in evidence in the academic offices, as the transfer to the Hatfield site started. Almost everything will be demolished except for Mansion and West Wing, even Flats and what was the art block are to go. Planning permission for 76 houses has been granted, although specifically no permission for Mansion to be used for residential use has been given.
Will this be the 'last reunion'?, certainly it will be last that can be held at the College as we knew it. Whether or not we can hold any functions there in the future remains to be seen. There was certainly the view expressed on the night that it should not be the last, and a number of year groups are now planning their own reunions. The committee have it in mind to possibly organise a reunion in 2007 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the College, if a suitable venue can be arranged.
Balls Park Mansion at the Reunion
(Photo : Gilli Childs)
Listening to Dr Sangster in the Fountain Garden
|Dr Sangster says a few words|
The 'Alma Mater'
and a group of old inmates outside Mansion
|Dave Hassell (77)
Dr Allan Cheshire