(Hamlet) John Percival R.I.P.

Halls 1956-1963

writes in the OBA Newsletter of
September 1990 reporting on
the Farewell Ceremony
following the closure of WHS.

Given a Chairman's privilege, I indulge myself in a personal note. Firstly, by extending previous thanks to the final roll-call of staff at the school for allowing and assisting our nostalgic returns. Secondly, I take it upon myself to repeat my words of the buffet dinner.

“On behalf of every boy who attended the school during its life, I publicly offer the deepest appreciation to members of staff, teachers, patrons, drivers, administrators, caterers, groundsmen, nurses, governors, parents and so many more with their families for the manner in which they shared our time and space in Suffolk.”

I said my farewell to Woolverstone many years ago. The sadness I experienced recently probably had much to do with knowing a regret that others can no longer enjoy the youth that good fortune bestowed upon me. That youth fulfils me today with friendships, a fierce pride of all Woolverstonian achievements past, present and still to come - and the self-satisfaction of continuing to win.

It is true that night fell on the school this summer, and under its dusk my wife and I carefully unloaded several school photographs (I dearly hope the full set will be restored one day), cuttings and an honours board. Once an insignificant boy in short trousers, I recall standing in the silence of the main building corridors, gazing up at these photographs of a school that seemed to be sternly watching over me. I would also stand in awe of the Honours Board: the temple-plate of academy wondering if I - an East-End kid - could ever attain such glories or scholarship. In deference to those honoured and as a reminder that we excelled I am reprinting herewith the details inscribed.

These icons of my youth now stand in the corner of a spare bedroom. To restore them to a site that can be rightly called Woolverstone is a personal Jerusalem that I will share with anyone. In the meantime my fellow Woolverstonians, perhaps you can help us ensure that the School does not go gently into that Good Night. You may deny it if you wish, but each success you gain in your daily routines has a fractional debt to Woolverstone Hall. Our school did not die, and as Bryan Middlebrows correctly called it, we are the living proof.