BEAMINSTER and Netherbury Grammar School closed half a century ago this December.

On December 2, the Old Boys and Old Girls Association will mark the 50th anniversary by joining the regular morning service at Beaminster’s St Mary’s Church and then by a lunch at the Red Lion Hotel.

Association chairman Peter Hardwill said: “Association members are bound to have mixed feelings about the closure but their memories are good ones.

“These memories are still important, as demonstrated by the biennial reunions attracting well over 100 former pupils and staff.”

The school’s current replacement has impressive facilities, he said, and a vibrancy that he hopes will give present day pupils good memories that will last for 50 years or more.

The church service is at 9.30am and intercessions will be led by former pupil the Rev Elisabeth Cross and the final hymn ‘Lord dismiss us with Thy blessing’ was sung at the end of each term.

Association secretary, Lesley Rundle said even the youngest former pupils are in their early sixties and membership is reducing.

She added: “So I am delighted the Red Lion lunch has been fully subscribed with 60 attending. Former pupil David Read will be the toastmaster.”

The Red Lion location is significant because the current function room was used in the 1950s for school dinners for day pupils, and more recently some classes held their 50th anniversaries there.