Great teachers and traffic light lollies - memories from a Hartlepool school as it turns 50

A school is celebrating its 50th birthday this week with a host of events and memories.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:41 pm

St Bega’s Catholic Primary School, on Hartlepool’s Headland, opened its doors for the first time on June 7, 1971.

Based first in Throston Street and now Thorpe Street, the school says it “has significantly evolved over the years with the wonderful support, love and guidance of the community”.

The affection that former pupils still have for the school is certainly evident in a range of tributes and memories shared with St Bega’s for the anniversary.

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Headteacher Jane Dolphin and St Bega's pupils celebrate the school's 50th birthday.

One read: “Mr Windram was my headteacher – a wonderful man and you knew you had had a good week when you were invited to collect a traffic light lolly from his office on a Friday!”

Another said: “We went to school when it first opened I thought the craft area was massive. Miss Helen was headmistress. Miss Waller, Mr Broughton, Mr Hall and Mr Ritchie all great teachers.”

A third former pupil wrote: “Mrs Laycock’s Alphabet Nativity. Mr Hillan playing his guitar for hymns. Shanty groups with Mr Cooney Jnr. School trips. Mrs Dolphin and Mrs Mac getting us through our SATs. Book club. Mrs Doogan in nursery. The chefs that come into school. School discos.

"Many more happy memories, with all my friends. If only we could turn back time.”

The school has shared pictures from its past.

Now a member of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, St Bega’s has 174 pupils and 25 teaching and support staff.

Celebrations throughout June will include a birthday mass, cake, balloons and a variety of online and small events due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.

Current headteacher Jane Dolphin said: “It is wonderful for St Bega’s to have reached this important birthday.

"The school has grown over time. It is a wonderful community to serve and I speak on behalf of all staff when I say, how happy we are happy to make a difference to the children and families in our care.

A staff picture from the school's archives.

"Thank you to all the staff who have given to the school over the last 50 years. Well done St Bega's and here is to another 50.”

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A picture of the school football team in 1978.