Basil going back to school after more than 70 years

Basil Richards from Ringmer will be attending a primary school reunion in Ashington where he attended in 1930
Basil Richards from Ringmer will be attending a primary school reunion in Ashington where he attended in 1930

An octogenarian will be attending a village’s primary school reunion after being away for more than 70 years.

The Ashington Primary School reunion held for ex-pupils aged 60 plus, will take place on July 26 at the Red Lion pub in Ashington and has already attracted more than 50 guests, including 87-year-old Basil Richards.

Basil Richards from Ringmer will be attending a primary school reunion in Ashington where he attended in 1930

Basil Richards from Ringmer will be attending a primary school reunion in Ashington where he attended in 1930

The Rectory Lane premises that used to be Ashington Primary School is now Chanctonbury Playschool, but for Basil he will always remember sitting in class as a four-year-old in 1930.

Contacted by the event organiser and former pupil Brenda Edginton, Basil was asked if he would be able to attend and reunite with old friends.

“I asked her who’s going to be there? There’s not many of us left at my age, but I’m actually looking forward to it now.

“I was a little boy at the time and I’m now 87, but I think there’s one or two people that I knew there still around.

“One friend Tom Borchin who was there with me at the time, I haven’t seen since the war.”

Joining the navy in 1942 aged just 16, Basil left Ashington to fight in World War II and remained in the forces until he turned 30.

Upon meeting his wife, a Lewes resident, Basil decided to move from Ashington to Ringmer, East Sussex, where he lives to this day.

Still in possession of a black and white photograph that shows Tom sat in the corner of the classroom at just four-years-old, he recollects snippets of memory.

“I have this photograph of me and several other lads who have since passed away.

“I’ve been thinking about some of the people lately and I think I could still pick them out.”

He particularly remembers the staff like Mrs Smith who was the headmistress at the time, before being superseded by Mrs Foster.

“I also remember the school building itself, but I haven’t been back there since I was 14 when I moved to a new school in Storrington.”

The reunion will take place on Friday, July 26, 11am to 3pm at the Red Lion Pub on London Road, Ashington.

Drinks and snacks will be provided. All former pupils aged 60 plus are welcome.