The evening was a huge success with over 400 guests attending an evening of music and memories. The entertainment was provided by the current school Swing Band, followed by past pupils Josh Goodey and Jamie Turner, with the evening ending with a set by Freebird, a local rock band with members who attended St Augustine’s on the first day back in 1963.
As well as meeting up with former classmates and teachers, there was a display of the school archives for the guests to look at, including attendance registers from the day the school opened, press cuttings going back to the 1960s, photographs of school trips and early video recordings of school trips to France from the early 1980s.
Headteacher, Mr Michael Wright said: “The displays brought back many happy memories as well as some embarrassment, with flared trousers from the 70s and perms from the 1980s causing great hilarity! Overall, a fantastic time was had by all.”
The celebrations continued on Sunday where more than 250 past and present pupils from the Billington-based school put on an emotional and thrilling performance in Blackburn at the weekend.
With support from Dermot O’Leary, Sting and David Attenborough they sang and played the work of former music teacher Peter Rose and lyricist Anne Conlon at King George’s Hall.
The show, titled “Just One World”, was made up of selected music from the different musicals written by the Rose/Conlon duo.
More than 1,000 people packed into the auditorium on Sunday afternoon to witness their feat.
Mr Peter Rose said: “I feel so privileged to have worked once again alongside over 250 remarkable present and ex-choristers and musicians of St Augustine’s School. Their phenomenal performance of Just One World was a true reflection of the energy, spirit and professionalism they had devoted to this wonderful CAFOD project in just a matter of a few weeks.
“Celebrating the school’s 50th Anniversary in this way was an awesome experience, surely one that will remain with all the performers and their families for many years to come.”
The money from the concert will go towards a project to supply water to people in Sebeya, Ethiopia.
The concert included pieces from Yanomamo, African Jigsaw, Ocean World, Song of Creation, One World One Sun and Arabica – musicals that are now sung by thousands of people around the world.
Matt Haworth, music teacher at St Augustine’s, said: “It started as a little seed that’s germinated since February when we took our Swing Band to visit Peter in the Scottish Highlands.
“We threw around the idea that it would be really great to raise a large amount of money for CAFOD, teaching the children that they can use their skills to bring about real change in the world.
“We set about planning our reunion as part of our 50th anniversary weekend. The idea was floated on Facebook and it took off. “Today, we’ve got over 200 people involved.”