Stoneyford PS former pupils hold a re-union

Alderman James Tinsley with May Leckey
Alderman James Tinsley with May Leckey

Scores of past pupils who once attended Stoneyford Primary School based in the village exchanged stories and photographs during a long awaited reunion at the Ballymac recently.

It was a case of old meeting new when one of the former pupils, Alderman James Tinsley, who was one of the youngest to attend the event and was just in P2 when the school closed met the oldest ex-pupil, 90-year-old May Leckey.

Former pupils of Stoneyford Primary

Former pupils of Stoneyford Primary

One ex pupil even travelled all the way from Spain to attend the reunion and organisers even received an email from ex-pupil Robert John Abbott MBE who lives in England and was unable to attend.

The cross community school was owned by the church and is now St John’s Hall, closed in 1976, when there were just 30 pupils in attendance. When pupils left they did so to go to Dundrod, Ballycarrickmaddy, Dundrod and Castlerobin Primary. The reunion was organised by two former pupils Stephanie Gregg and Ann Watson.

“We all had stories to tell and pictures to show,” said Stephanie.

“We all recalled that the pupils and staff greatly respected the teachers. We all talked about how old we were getting and how much we loved school.

“Whenever I attended the school in the 1950’s there was a Mr and Mrs Hamilton who was the teacher and principal.

“My sister loved the school so much that she would cry when the summer holidays arrived. Everyone loved the school so much.

“There were a lot of people who we all had not seen for years and it was great to see them again.

“When someone was ill they would still come into the school and even stay in the teachers house, during the school day. That’s the way the school was.”