Happy centenary!

Opening of centenery garden at Lawefield Primary.'Craig Batley (head), David Hinchliffe (former pupil)
Opening of centenery garden at Lawefield Primary.'Craig Batley (head), David Hinchliffe (former pupil)
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A SCHOOL which educated some of Wakefield’s most famous sons celebrated its centenary this week.

Sir Rodney Walker, former GB rugby international Ian Brooke, former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe and city historian John Goodchild were all pupils at Lawefield Primary School.

On Wednesday, the men were reunited as part of the school’s 100th birthday celebrations, which saw Mr Hinchliffe officially open the school’s centenary garden.

Speaking at the event, he fondly recalled how things were very different in his day.

He said: “We used to have to line up and have our shoes inspected each morning, but my friends and I used to walk through the park to school, so ours were always really mucky.

“As a result we used to get to meet the headteacher on a regular basis.”

Sir Rodney Walker, who was given a knighthood for his services to sport in 1996, and was chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats from 1986 to 1993, said the Lawefield Lane school was where he first became interested in rugby league.

He said: “I have very happy and fond memories of my school days, and it’s extraordinary that when I walked through the doors today, so much of it was still so familiar to me.”

Among the star guests was 91-year-old Joan Gledhill, of Silcoates Lane, who was a pupil at the school in the 1930s.

She said: “I loved it and it’s so nice to come back. So much has changed though, because we used to have wooden desks and chairs, blackboards and inkwells.”

When the school first opened its doors on October 29, 1912, it was known as Lawefield Lane Senior Council School and Lawefield Lane Junior Council School.

Over the years there have been junior, infant, first and middle schools in the buildings.

Teacher Janet Dean has seen many changes during the 38 years she has worked at the school and chose the centenary week to retire.

She said: “It’s been a lovely place to work and I will miss the children and staff.”

The 59-year-old was responsible for the school memorabilia archives, started by former headteacher Alwyn Peel, who worked there from 1968 to 1992.

Former pupils and members of staff were invited to revisit the school to watch cine films and look at an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia.

Current headteacher Craig Batley, said the celebrations had proved really popular.

He added: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to be Lawefield’s headteacher at such a special time in the school’s history.”