Preston school's Class of '77 are immortalised in a book

At school in Preston they were literally in a class of their own.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:55 pm

Now the last group of lads to attend the city's former Catholic College are being featured in a book put together by one of the old boys.

"The Final Intake - The End of an Era" is about to be published and will soon be on sale online and in bookshops.

"We are not suggesting for a second that it's going to be a best-seller," laughed creator Jim Clune.

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The Class of 77 at their reunion in 2016.
The Class of 77 at their reunion in 2016.

"But it is something we wanted to do. It's a real labour of love and has been worthwhile doing."

Jim, 55, and his schoolmates were the last year group to attend the Catholic College in Winckley Square. No-one followed, so by the time they reached the fifth form (Year 11) they were the only pupils in the school, apart from the sixth form.

Many of the boys came together for a reunion in October 2016 to mark their 50th birthdays.

"Of the 89 in our intake, 47 of us attended - along with four of our old teachers - which was quite a decent turnout," said Jim. "Seven had passed away and it will probably be more than that by now.

The former Catholic College in Winckley Square.

"But it was great to talk about our school days and what we have gone on to do in our lives. We have had some pretty varied careers since we left in the eighties."

Jim left Preston after sixth form and became a police officer rising to the rank of inspector with the Metropolitan force in London. He lives in Hertfordshire and, having retired from the police in 2015, he is now working as a mental health lead at a school in Cheshunt.

The idea for the book came from hearing the news that one of the teachers who attended the reunion had passed away.

"That's what got me thinking really," he explained. "I thought it would be a nice idea to put a book together, so I bit the bullet and spoke to some of the other old boys and they agreed.

Former police inspector Jim Clune who played a key role in putting the book together.

"It features autobiographies of 23 or 24 of the boys. It is about our recollections going through Cath College and what we have done since.

"My recollections of my time at school were very good, but some were not so good. But it's been quite humbling getting people to relive their experiences in the written word.

"It has brought us all together again. People have been back in contact with each other after a long time apart. It is something I am really pleased we have taken through to publishing."

The book will be on sale in Waterstones and on Amazon. It will be launched in Waterstones in Preston on October 2 with a signing session.

Blue plaque which is fixed to the front of the old school.
The college occupied the whole of the west side of Winckley Square from Garden Street.