A GROUP of former Helensburgh primary pupils are hoping to track down their old classmates - many of whom haven’t seen each other for around 50 years - for a school reunion.

Joy Mitchell, Jackie McKerrow, Sandra Wilkie and Mairi Adam, who all attended Hermitage Primary between 1966 and 1973, have fond memories of growing up together in the town and the quartet are keen to seek out other ex classmates who shared similar experiences.

Having each turned 60 last year the four friends are now planning a major celebration in 2022 by re-uniting the Hermitage alumni - and they are appealing for help in tracing the remaining members.

Helensburgh Advertiser: P3B at Hermitage Primary in 1968/9P3B at Hermitage Primary in 1968/9

“Turning 60 was an important milestone for us,” said Joy, whose family moved to Helensburgh in 1969.

“And after nearly two years of the pandemic, with so much isolation and disconnection and challenges for mental health, we realised that time is precious.

“Our minds turned to when we were children and we wondered how everyone was doing now.”

Jackie first came up with the idea and a private Flickr group has now been formed to share photos, as well as a WhatsApp group to share memories and chat as people are found and connections are made once again.

Helensburgh Advertiser: P5A at Hermitage Primary in 1970/1P5A at Hermitage Primary in 1970/1

Using social media, online directories, and talking to friends of friends, they have now tracked down more than half of the people they recall - and the group are asking the local community to think back to old times over the festive season and see if they can remember any names or come up with any information to help them find the rest.

Joy said: “We have most of the names of children in the photos, but some names have escaped us.

“We have tracked down around 35 people so far, through searching online mostly.

“Sandra has a lovely story of taking a walk up to a classmate’s old house last month, and the classmate who lived there previously had actually moved back into the house a few years ago after her parents had passed away. I expect more stories like that to happen - short but of interest and emotional as the families’ stories are uncovered.

“We have discovered so far that three of our classmates have passed away over the years. We intend to raise a glass to departed friends when we have the group reunion.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: P7A at Hermitage Primary in 1972/3P7A at Hermitage Primary in 1972/3

A crowdfunding page has been launched to raise more than £1,000 for a weekend of events this year, including an afternoon meet-up at the Victoria Halls on February 12, with a virtual link for those who can’t attend physically, and an evening gathering at the Commodore Hotel.

Joy added: “I personally felt quite overwhelmed as the number of people increased and each one brought back a memory of a small child that made me laugh, cry, learn, question, appreciate play and simpler times.

“They all helped make me me. They were my community growing up, and even after nearly 50 years, I still feel a bond to them, still feel that some of the times we shared were only yesterday, that experiences they have had recently and over the years may be in some emotional and existential ways very similar to my own, despite different paths.”

If you can help with the group's plans contact mairi.adam@hotmail.co.uk or visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hermitage-reunion.