One final reunion for north Suffolk Kerrisonian Club

A Kerrisonian Club Old Boy presentation. (From left) Brian Atkinson, Carpentry Instructor 1965, until the school closed in 1992, Jack Stokes (dec'd), House Master and then Deputy Principal 1960 - 1981, and Mr P Shaw BEM, a former Old Boy. ANL-150617-151238001

A Kerrisonian Club Old Boy presentation. (From left) Brian Atkinson, Carpentry Instructor 1965, until the school closed in 1992, Jack Stokes (dec'd), House Master and then Deputy Principal 1960 - 1981, and Mr P Shaw BEM, a former Old Boy. ANL-150617-151238001

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Half a century on from its formation, an unusual Thorndon Club is closing down and holding one final reunion.

The Kerrison School was thought to be the only penal establishment in the country with its own Old Boys Association, known as the Kerrisonian Club, made up of ex inmates and staff of the school.

The Kerrison Old Boys Club was formed in 1964/65 by the then deputy head, Jack Stokes, and a retired deputy head, Leslie Blackshaw. Despite Kerrison closing in 1992, the reunions continued annually.

Now, 50 years on from its formation, former Old Boys are being invited to what will be the final reunion, which will be held at Kerrison School, in Stoke Road, on July 12.

Remaining founder member and current chairman John Roalfe said: “Sir Edward Kerrison bought the land with public subscription. The school was opened in 1856 as The Suffolk Reformatory. In 1887 the Kerrison Trust was formed to run the school and was supported by public subscription. It consisted of the school, house and 40 acres of land with farm buildings.

“The school had its own Young Farmers Club which joined in with other local farmers’ groups and for two years the school hosted the Suffolk County Competition for Young Farmers Clubs.

“The school also provided the arena party for the Norfolk County Show in Norwich, and the boys acted as stewards there.

“As the remaining founding member of the club I am taking this opportunity to invite any former Old Boys to the final reunion.”

The school, taken over by Suffolk County Council in 1971 and rebranded Kerrison Community Home with Education on the Premises, was involved with the local community.

Between the wars, the school had a 40 piece wind band which played in the local areas and brought revenue to the school, a pantomime was held every year, with staff and boys participating, with audiences of up to 400 local people, and a Christmas nativity play was put on. The school also formed the local church choir from staff, boys and local people.

To apply to attend the reunion, email secretarykerrisonianclub@gmail.com