Old boys unite for dinner

Former pupils of Wheelwright Boys’ Grammar School will be united once again at their annual dinner.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2013, 10:00 am
GUEST SPEAKER The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, with Dianne Thompson CBE in 2007.

Dozens of former alumni of the Dewsbury school are expected to gather for the celebration on November 1.

They will be joined by Dewsbury-born CBE winner Dianne Thompson, who is the chief executive of lottery giant Camelot Group.

John Gibson, who left Wheelwright in 1969, is one of the event organisers.

“The dinners have been taking place for many years – I’ve been organising them for 10 years,” he said.

“The school closed in 1974 and probably not long after that the dinners were first organised.

“There were only a few people going along then but it’s been up to 100 attending and we had around 90 last year.”

Last year’s guest speaker was former Baroness Betty Boothroyd, who grew up in Dewsbury.

Mrs Thompson, who will follow in her footsteps this year, was also born in Dewsbury and grew up in Woodfield Avenue, Staincliffe.

She attended Manorfield Infant School before moving to Healey School and then Batley Girls’ Grammar School, when she also had a Saturday job at Fox’s Biscuits.

She joined Camelot in 1997 as commercial operations director and was the first woman executive director to join the Camelot Board, taking over as chief executive in 2001.

In 2006 she was presented with a CBE by the Prince of Wales. She was named Woman of the Year at the Yorkshire Awards the following year.

Mrs Thompson is chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, and holds seven honorary degrees including one from the University of Huddersfield.

Mr Gibson said: “We usually choose someone who’s an old boy with the school or has a connection with Dewsbury like Baroness Boothroyd who is a previous speaker.”

This year’s dinner will be held at Healds Hall Hotel in Liversedge from 7pm.

Former pupils who would like to attend should contact Mr Gibson on 07771 644157.