Call to Connect Campaign: A Listening Ear for Older Old Waconians

We know lockdown has been a challenging time for many people, particularly for those aged over 70 where restrictions have left some feeling lonely or isolated. We brought together two generations of Old Waconians via our Call to Connect campaign. We asked younger Old Waconians to call our older alumni and have a really good chat with them – to find out about their time at CHS and to share experiences. Two of our callers shared their reasons for getting involved.

Beth McDermott, Class of 2017, has recently graduated: “I had just finished University so had plenty of time to chat. I knew I would enjoy this opportunity, whilst also acknowledging how important it is to stay connected in such a strange time!”

Molly Gunson (pictured), who left CHS in 2018, is still at university in York: “I volunteer with a charity in York, calling the elderly in the community to check in on them and have catch-ups about how they are, so truly know how valuable this communication is. I am also the third generation of my family to attend CHS; my Dad, uncles and Grandma attended the school so wanted to contact other Old Wacs and discuss our experiences.”

Molly told us more about some of her calls: “Joan Webb (née Taylor-Hibbert), Class of 1938, had many fond memories of school: a Christmas party where the boys asked the girls to go with them; watching a commercial film about the school at the REX cinema; and her German classes with only one other student and her favourite teacher, Peter Hoy. We spoke about her life in Germany working with the Ministry of Intelligence, and life during lockdown. John Beswick, Class of 1960, recollected an incident where all the board rubbers went missing and all the boys had to stand in pentagon yard until somebody confessed, though nobody ever did, much to the dismay of the teachers! And along with fond memories of eating Manchester Tart and prunes and custard for school dinners, Penny Thompson (née White), Class of 1958, remembered how, as she attended CHS after the war, many students no longer had fathers, but she truly appreciated the diversity of backgrounds of students and the equality at the school.”

Although not all of the Old Waconians wanted their stories to be shared, many spoke about the support they had received from friends and the local community, and how they appreciated the opportunity to talk with our callers. Thank you to our Young Old Wacs – keep up the good work!