From Yate, Southampton and Oxfordshire, the Class of ‘58- those who began studying at Hardye’s School in Dorchester in 1958- headed for their annual reunion at the Colliton Club. Aged 11 in 1958, these Old Hardyeans are now past the milestone of 70 years old, some having attained their 71st birthdays and others shortly to do so.

The longest journies were by Richard Sonley, who travelled from his home at Eynsham, Oxfordshire and Simon Frampton, who lives at Yate, near Bristol. Classmate Graham Lush journied from Hedge End, near Southampton and Barrie Allington from Yetminster. Stuart Hargreaves made the trip from Maiden Newton. Old Hardyeans’ Past President Michel Hooper-Immins travelled up from Weymouth, as did Colin Squibb, Hugh Slavin, Jonathan Pullen and Colin Smith.

The reunion was organised again this year by Clive Dickinson from Dorchester, using the well established old boys email network to contact around 30 of the Class of ‘58 who remain in touch all around England.“These reunions, to me, mean the coming together of long standing friends, with whom we once shared our school years and catching up with their news,”comments Clive Dickenson. “After all, it is now almost 60 years since we startedschooland over 50 years since we left. Some of the attendees I knew quite well at school and those friendships continue.Yet some, with whom I hardly had any contact all those years ago, are now firm friends.”

“In my mind, the enduring success of the Old Hardyeans is that so many of us have kept in touch over the 59 years since we walked into Wollaston House for the first time in September 1958,” comments Michel Hooper-Immins, Secretary of the Old Hardyeans, which was founded in 1905 as the Old Grammarians. “I often say that Old Hardyeans are everywhere, but it gives me particular pleasure to meet up with those who were with me on my seven year journey through Hardye’s School from 1958 to 1965, almost six decades ago. Long may we continue these reunions and remain such firm friends.”

Founded 112 years in 1905 as the Old Grammarians, the Old Hardyeans- also known as the Hardyeans Club- is one of the most successful old school associations in the county, bringing together the old boys of Dorchester Grammar School and Hardye’s School, plus ex-students of the modern Thomas Hardye School. In the times of Queen Elizabeth I, it was Thomas Hardye [with a final “e”] described as a Yeoman of Frampton, who endowed Dorchester Grammar School in 1569. Hardye’s [shopping] Arcade today stands on the site. The Grammar School moved to Culliford Road in 1928- renamed Hardye’s School from 1954. The new Thomas Hardye School in Queens Avenue opened in 1992, encompassing the best traditions of the two previous schools- but admitting girls for the first time since 1569! Writer Thomas Hardy OM, who lived at nearby Max Gate, laid the foundation stone of Hardye’s School in 1927. He was no relation to Thomas Hardye, founder of the school, nor of Admiral Thomas Masterman Hardy!

Michel Hooper-Immins