TWO school friends had an unexpected reunion in London after not seeing each other for 50 years.
Alicia Phillips and Marcella Young won a competition through Stagecoach as part of its launch of the new Oxford Tube fleet.
By chance, they ended up sitting at the same table as part of winning the treat – afternoon tea at London’s Grosvenor Hotel – and quickly discovered they were former schoolmates.
The duo had been pupils at Botley Primary School, in Elms Road, Botley, between 1958 and 1964.
At that time they were, of course, known by their maiden names Alicia Adderley and Marcella Pether.
Mrs Young, who lives in Glebelands, Headington, was delighted to see her former classmate.
The 61-year-old said: “I knew that I recognised the face but when we discovered the connection, I just couldn’t believe it.”
While both remember happy times at primary school together, they went their separate ways, as Mrs Phillips headed to St Juliana’s Convent in Begbroke, which is now closed.
A mother-of-one, Mrs Phillips, who lives in Westminster Way, Botley, has fond memories of her time at primary school alongside Mrs Young.
Class sizes were much bigger back then – with 100 children split between two classes.
Mrs Phillips, also 61, said: “There was an amount of naughtiness because of the class sizes.
“I was sent out lots for giggling mainly.
“I remember my first day in Miss King’s class I had my hand rapped with a ruler.
“It’s unheard of now.
“We still had the cane too as a punishment. It was very, very rarely used but it put the fear of God in us.
“I remember being so happy there – I have such happy memories. It was a fantastic time.”
The retired Oxford City Council secretarial worker added: “Hopefully, some other classmates might get in touch with us now and then we can have a reunion.
“We had such a lovely afternoon reminiscing about old times and I enjoyed travelling to and from London.
“A big thank you to all the staff from Stagecoach who organised such a special event and the fact I met an old friend there was the icing on the cake.”
They won the trip through the #CoachWithAView competition which celebrated the launch of the new Oxford Tube coaches, which went into service last Wednesday.
Business development manager Karen Coventry said “It was nice that Oxford Tube was responsible for reuniting these two friends after all this time. All guests enjoyed their trip to London and were excited to be the first passengers on a new Oxford Tube coach.”
Stagecoach announced in March it was to replace its entire fleet of Oxford Tube coaches at a cost of more than £10m.
The coaches take passengers from the city centre into London. The service celebrated 25 years in 2012.
Our top stories:
12:09pm Friday 27th November 2015
TWO men have been arrested in connection with the murder of Kerry Reeves, 26, in Abingdon earlier this month.
7:00am Friday 27th November 2015
TRAFFIC jams are now so bad in Oxford concrete is setting in the back of delivery lorries.
9:00am Friday 27th November 2015
FORGET Frozen and park the Playstation... traditional toys are back with a bang this Christmas.
8:30am Friday 27th November 2015
INTERNET users believe some people in Oxfordshire will still struggle to get superfast broadband despite £5.6m of new funding to roll it out to 4,600 homes and businesses.
8:00am Friday 27th November 2015
NEIGHBOURS have branded the £1,500 fine dished out to a boutique hotel owner over clay pigeon shooting “pathetic”.
6:30am Friday 27th November 2015
A CIVIC group has warned plans for up to 190 new homes at Wolvercote’s former paper mill could worsen traffic and air pollution in North Oxford.