|13 May 2021|
|Old Princethorpians News|
Following a flying visit by Old Princethorpian, José Contreras to the College in March, a Spanish OPs Virtual Reunion was suggested, with the aim of gathering together as many of the Spanish former pupils from the 80s and 90s as possible.
Former languages teacher, Ed MacFetridge, who is in regular contact with his old Spanish charges via WhatsApp, leapt into action and in no time at all a date and time was set for Saturday 24 April at 8.30pm Spanish time.
Nine former pupils joined the Zoom call, along with host Alex Darkes, Headmaster, Ed Hester, OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler and Archivist, Janette Ratcliffe. Also on the call were members of staff, former Headmaster, Fr Alan Whelan MSC, former teachers, Paul Adams, Peter and Liz Griffin, Bernie Moroney and of course, Ed MacFetridge.
Ed Hester invited the OPs to introduce themselves and what they are doing now, plus any memories they wanted to share with the group. Most of the group are still based in Spain and all have successful careers. Tall tales were told of Spanish football prowess, extra English lessons, the confiscation of illicit Spanish food and weekly calls home from the telephone box in the main corridor. Several of the group spoke of their initial homesickness and the warmth the whole group continues to feel for former Matron, Ann Grant, who they described as ‘our second mother’, was also very apparent.
Amongst the good-humoured exchanges and banter, what quickly became clear was that in true Spanish style a Saturday evening, even one conducted over Zoom, soon becomes a family affair. Alfonso Lechuga’s small daughter made regular appearances during the evening, along with some of Jose’s eight, yes eight children. Some of the wives also got in on the act, but the highlight of the evening had to be when the three Contreras brothers, Juan, José and Javier, were joined on the call by their remarkable nonagenarian mother, a phonetics expert, who in her excellent English, explained how her boys came to become pupils at the College.
After a look into the archives from their time at the school, the fun-packed evening came to a happy close with an invitation for our next Spanish OPs meet to take place at Francis Megias’ luxury hotel on the Costa del Sol. That sounds like an offer we can’t refuse!
Also on the call were Rafael Layna Fernandez, Santiago Lasa, Julio Monsalve and Gerardo Perez.
Muchas gracias to Ed MacFetridge for his invaluable help in organising the evening.
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