Class of 1961 reunion at Harrogate’s Belmont Grosvenor School

Former pupils of a Harrogate girls school travelled thousands of miles to meet up for the first time in more than 50 years at a reunion lunch at Belmont Grosvenor School.

A group of nine women – six from the same class – enjoyed a trip down memory lane at their former school, now an ‘outstanding’ co-educational prep school.

The class of 1961 – all pupils at the former Belmont School, on Queen Parade – travelled from as far afield as South Africa and Spain to attend the reunion lunch.

Belmont School, originally founded in 1880, merged with the former Birklands School in the 1960s, then Grosvenor House School, to later become co-educational prep school Belmont Grosvenor.

Now based at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, the school, along with its Magic Tree Nursery, cares for children from three months to 11 years.

Josie Swires and Elizabeth Pickard, who organized the reunion said it had been lovely to meet up again after so many years.


Mrs Swires (nee Worsnop), who lives in Beckwithshaw, near Harrogate said: There were only 23 of us in our class – it was lovely to catch up with former friends after 53 years.

There were a number of other girls from our class who we were able to contact but they were unfortunately unable to attend.

When we turned up at Belmont Grosvenor School, the staff had prepared name labels for us all, but we were able to recognize each other if not straightaway, but within moments despite the years that had passed.

Although the women couldn’t visit their original school building, which is now a private home, they toured Belmont Grosvenor School with Head Boy and Head Girl Toby Cook and Ruby Johnson.


Miss Pickard said: It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up on each others’ news over 50 years, each one of us remembering different situations that occurred during our time together at school.

Over the years, the former pupils have travelled the world, with Miss Pickard now living in South Africa, Mrs Tribe having lived in Iran and now based in Spain and Mrs Berry having spent eight years living in Ontario, Canada.


Mrs Merriman, headteacher of Belmont Grosvenor School, said: It was lovely to welcome the old girls back to school and hear of their happy memories of Belmont. School days are said to be the happiest times of our lives and I think this message was born out by the ladies.


Main photograph: Diane Morris (nee) Morris, Jane Walbank (nee Hargreaves), Josie Swires (nee Worsnop), Elisabeth Pickard (nee Pickard), Lynn Berry (nee Walters), Sheelagh Tribe (nee Wilson)