A group of British expatriates were in Malta from September 17 to 24 to hold their first overseas reunion at their former Royal Naval School at Verdala, in Cospicua. Their attendance years ranged from the 1930s to the school's closure in the mid-Seventies. This is actually the second official reunion as the first was held in 2001 at Wiston Manor, West Sussex.
Most of the group stayed at the Victoria Hotel in Sliema, where coaches picked them up to take them on various excursions to revisit historical sites.
The highlight of the week, however, was the trip to the school now named Guzeppi Despott Boys' Junior Lyceum. The headmaster, Joe Huber, and his staff, were most enthusiastic about the visit and ensured the school was specifically opened for this tour before the new term begins. They also arranged for the group to have a talk on the history of Verdala, which was given by Rita Debattista, subject co-ordinator at the school.
Following the talk and refreshments, the group toured the school at their leisure to revisit their most treasured haunts of yesteryear. As the actual school buildings have remained the same, this triggered many happy childhood memories and all agreed that their time at Verdala was their best school years.
Martin Azzopardi, who is also a teacher, filmed our visit on video and took numerous pictures. Later in the week some of the group also visited Tal-Handaq School, as this was the secondary School they attended on leaving Verdala at the age of 11.
After the Verdala visit, the group returned to the Victoria Hotel for a reunion lunch to which the present staff were invited. A former Maltese secretary, Josephine Binett, also joined the group for the visit and attended the lunch. Sadly she is the only local person to contact the reunion group to join in despite former press coverage and the Website listing event details for several years of the planned visit. Although there were a few former Maltese pupils, none have, unfortunately, yet made contact.
A reunion dinner was also held on Thursday evening at La Dolce Vita restaurant in St Julian's, where again some of the present staff was in attendance.
For anyone interested, a vast amount of information, including pictures, concerning the old Royal Naval School can also be found on the expats' official school Website www.verdala.com. The Webmaster, Alistair Newman, will always be pleased to receive any new submissions via the Website e-mail address. The site is also linked to the Friends Reunited site as this also lists many of the RN Verdala School's former pupils who have registered.
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