MORE than 500 people turned up to say a fond farewell to their former school.
There was a non-stop stream of visitors at a farewell reunion at Jesmond Road Primary School, in Hartlepool.
The event was held before the school, which opened in 1902, closes its doors for the last time this summer and moves to a £7m new-build facility nearby called Jesmond Gardens Primary School.
Nina Knight, from the Belle Vue area of town, was one of the oldest ex-pupils at the event.
The 91-year-old, who appeared in the Mail last month as the head of five generations in her family, started at the school aged five in 1925, and left in 1934.
Nina’s grand-daughter, Dawn Smith, 45, said: “She loved it.
“She said it was just like going back in time. She said nothing had changed at all from walking in.” Mary Allen, also 91, who started at the school in the same year, was at the reunion with her son Eddie, who had also been a pupil at Jesmond Road.
Former staff and pupils travelled from as far as Scotland and Gloucestershire to be part of the occasion.
They had the chance to go on a tour of their old classrooms, reminisce with classmates and to look over memorabilia, including old registers and two war memorials featuring the names of former pupils.
Also at the event was Joyce Large (nee King), 72, who attended the school from 1944 until 1950.
Mrs Large, who is married to Keith, said: “The only thing that I thought had changed was that there was tables instead of wooden desks.
“There was also a different surface on the stone steps, but apart from that, it was just like the old days.
“We had a good laugh looking at the pictures. It’s a shame that it has to close.”
Headteacher Jane Loomes said: “The whole event was absolutely amazing.
“Everybody had a wonderful time and they were so grateful at having one last opportunity to look around the school.
“People met long-lost friends, and we even had 75-year-olds swapping e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
“Everybody was so lovely to meet, and the stories and reminiscing was just fantastic, it was just wonderful.”