Guardian reunites uni pals after 41 years

FRIENDS REUNITED John Atkinson and Ian White who were at Durham University together and have been reunited by the Spenborough Guardian after 41 years.
FRIENDS REUNITED John Atkinson and Ian White who were at Durham University together and have been reunited by the Spenborough Guardian after 41 years.
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Two friends, who have not seen each other for four decades, have been reunited thanks to an appeal in the Spenborough Guardian.

Ian White, of Penrith, wrote to the paper two weeks ago, wanting to get in touch with John Atkinson, who was at Durham University with him in the 1960s.

The pair were in a group of eight friends, but while the others met up regularly, they lost contact with John.

Ian said: “Whenever we met, John was always mentioned, but we didn’t know where he was, other than he was living in Cleckheaton, so I wrote to the paper to see if we could find him.

“I couldn’t believe it when, the same day the paper came out, he called and we caught up on old times. I’m the secretary of Penrith Football Club and realised that the following week we were playing at Bradford Park Avenue, which I knew was near Cleckheaton, and we agreed to meet up.”

John, who moved to Cleckheaton in 1972 when he began teaching at Hipperholme Grammar School, said: “When we left university we all went our separate ways. I never thought we’d keep in touch, and then in the late 1990s I heard that one of the group, Geoff Watson, had died, so any thoughts of us all getting together just went.

“The other Friday I went out to buy my Guardian, but before I’d even sat down to read it my phone rang and it was a neighbour telling me I was in it because someone was trying to get in touch,

“I read the letter and rang Ian straight away. We had a really good chat and he gave me the contact details of the others in the group – including Geoff who, it turns out, was not dead at all!

“We’ve chatted and emailed and it’s really good to be back in touch with them.

“There is a reunion in Durham in March and I shall be going along. As Geoff said, it will be quite an interesting gathering with one person risen from the dead, and one lost sheep!”