The Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday, 28th March 2006
Friends are reunited
MEMORIES of Winckley Square in the wartime and the days of a unique school in Preston were recalled at a special reunion. The old girls from Convent of the Holy Child Jesus met for their annual get-together which marked more than 60 years since they left the school for Catholic girls, just off Fishergate in the city centre.

The convent’s old senior school has since become Heathcotes restaurant and the junior school has become apartments, but the memories were as vivid as ever for more than 100 women who attended the reunion.

They came from as far afield as Spain and Wiltshire to the meeting at the vicarage of St Augustine’s Church in Avenham.

Former pupil Christine O’Connor, who travelled up from her home in Hertfordshire, sees changes in her hometown city every time she returns to meet with her old school pals.

But, seeing what has happened to her old school had quite an effect on the former head girl during one visit.

She said: “I went into Heathcotes with a friend when I was visiting a few years ago and where the headmistress used to stand at assemblies we used to have to curtsey as we left the room.

“Now it is a jukebox and as I walked out, without thinking, I curtseyed at the jukebox.

“People must have thought I was mad, but it shows the lasting impression this place has on us.”

The convent, at Number 23 Winckley Square, was closed in 1981 after it was merged with Cardinal Newman College with the reorganisation of secondary education in 1978.

Reunion organiser Bernadette Proudman taught in the convent’s junior school until the building on East Cliff was sold off for housing in 1971.

She said: “It is surprising how many old Winckley Square girls there are still living in Preston.

“I was visiting a friend in an old people's home the other day and there were four ex-pupils there all chatting about old times.

“It is the kind of place that once you have been touched by it, it never leaves you.”

Her sister Molly Scott, who lives in Longridge, attended the school between 1931 and 1938 before returning in the early 1940s to teach.

She said: “It is wonderful to get so many of us together, we just enjoy coming back together to meet up with old friends.”

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, March 2006