4 October 2022

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Priory’s first Head Boy and Girl were reunited after almost 66 years apart and had the chance to meet the incumbents of the posts. 

Sonia Ward (nee Taylor) is now 82 and was invited back to Priory by Principal, Mr Eastham to have a look around the school earlier this year. 

The school opened in 1953 with Sonia among the first group of pupils to join and she became Head Girl of Penwortham Secondary Modern School, as it was then, in 1955. 

Her return story was featured in the newspapers and on the school website and she mentioned the Head Boy then – Roy Rich. 

Roy saw the story and immediately contacted the school and the two met up again for the first time since they left Priory. 

“I saw it in the newspaper and made contact with the school,” said Roy. “I have got lost already as it’s totally different! 

“It’s weird as both Sonia and I went to work at County Hall, it’s a vast place, and we never saw each other so this is the first time I have seen her.” 

Sonia said: “It’s amazing, as soon as I saw Roy I recognised him immediately. I haven’t seen him since I was 16 but he still looks the same!” 

Priory, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this next year, has changed a lot with a new science laboratory building, a humanities building and IT block among other additions. 

"My son Graham, who now teaches in Spain, attended Priory so my last visit would be with him when he left to go to Runshaw College.” said Roy, 82, who finished his career as the Local Government Review Officer for Lancashire County Council. 

“It was an honour to be Head Boy then, one of my jobs was to instil a little bit of discipline. Smoking was a big thing then so my job was to report it to the Head Master. 

“Being back at Priory brings back a lot of memories, a lot of good memories. I remember upstairs was a domestic area for boys and girls and I learnt shorthand and typing which stood me in good stead for my job at County Hall. 

“I left school with four O’Levels, I was one of the first to take O’Levels. I had the chance to go to Hutton Sixth Form but I went straight into work at County Hall, that’s what most people did then.” 

The duo looked at archive photographs of their time at Priory with the new Head Prefects, Fatima, Ben and Taylor. 

“I remember we had to work hard in the gym, we had to climb the rope all the way to the top,” laughed Sonia. 

Fatima said: “It was amazing looking at the photographs. It’s weird as some of it looks like a different school although some parts look the same with different decorations. It’s great to be able to meet Sonia and Roy and follow in their footsteps.” 

One thing that hasn’t changed is football – Roy was in the Priory football team and Taylor was happy to share football stories with Roy! 

They gave Sonia and Roy a tour around the school and Taylor added: “It was a pleasure to meet them and hear their stories.” 

Below: Sonia and Roy on the second row, furthest right. 

Below: Sonia, Roy and Mr Eastham with our current Head and Senior Prefects

Below: Sonia and Roy take a look at archive photos.

Tags: Alumni Community