Giggleswick School has now found three out of the five girls it launched a search for in June – with one of them getting in touch with the School at the Great Yorkshire Show, where the stand she was working on was located on the same avenue as the local independent school. In June, Giggleswick School, near Settle, appealed for information about four of the first five girls to attend in 1976 – when it became the first school in the North of England to become co-educational.
Giggleswick’s stand at the Great Yorkshire Show featured a giant banner celebrating its 40 year anniversary of becoming co-educational. The display showed a copy of the Daily Mail from 1976, when girls joining the School made several national headlines. Helen Benson nee Sykes, who is now based in Ripon, was walking towards her own stand when she turned to the giant newspaper cutting and exclaimed “That’s me!”
Another of the girls, Beverley Evans, now known as Beverley Wild was sent a copy of the School’s local paper The Craven Herald, by her father, when the search was first launched, and has since got in touch with the School.
She says of her experience
I remember the photographs and being interviewed by the national press, it all seemed very exciting at the time. Despite the difficulties I experienced, being 16 in a male dominated environment, I had a great deal of warmth and respect for this school which helped me to gain confidence and form an understanding of people which I do not believe I would have gained so young, without attending Giggleswick. I have so many memories of this special time.
The School, where girls now make up 43% of pupils, now has just two more ladies to track down, after which it hopes to bring them all together and re-create the famous photograph of their arrival.
Giggleswick School’s Alumni Officer, Jim Bellis, said of the developments
With the School dating back to 1512 we have a rich and varied history but becoming the first school in the North of England to become co-educational is certainly one of the more important milestones. It would be fantastic to bring the girls back to Giggleswick, not only for nostalgia but so that our current pupils can meet the Giggleswick girls who made history.
The School now continues its search for Victoria Eskridge and Elizabeth Street. If anyone has any information about the girls they are asked to get in touch with James Bellis by calling 01729 893000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org