Colin Grainger

Former grammar school pupils score with Hammers’ legend and Beatles’ hits

MORE than 50 former pupils and teachers from a variety of years at the former Plaistow Grammar School came together for a remarkable reunion on Saturday.

And this year they were joined by West Ham legend Pat ‘Patsy’ Holland, who was a member of the Hammers 1975 FA Cup winning team and also the club’s 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup final team.

  • Inside the event

Pat worked with pupils at the school as part of the plan by West Ham and England former boss Ron Greenwood, who sent Pat and his team mates out to schools in the borough to run coaching sessions.

Patsy, now 67, said: “It was nice to see so many old faces again, and I think we’ve all worn pretty well. It was a pleasure to work with you all and the PE team at PGS and we had some good times.”

It was great to see so many old – and new ‘old’ faces – as this year we were joined by many faces from years that had not attended in the past.

  • Patsy and Len

The event was organised by my former classmate Len Filtness, the seventh he has organised in as many years. Former pupil and actor Terence Stamp was at one of the reunions two years ago.

For the pupils among the gathering who started at the school in 1965, it was a When I’m Sixty Four reunion, to mark reaching that particular age.

With that in mind, another special guest was The Wandering Minstrel, Liverpudlian Mike Collins, who, decked out in Sgt Pepper garb led the gathering in the famous song as well as other Beatles’ melodies.

  • Mike gets us in the mood for When I’m Sixty Four

“It was a pleasure to be asked here,” he said.

  • Singalong – Vera Bennett leads the singing

Len addressed the audience, which also contained a number of teachers from the former school in Prince Regent Lane, Plaistow, with a few tales from the past, as did previous pupils John Percival, from the year of 1947, and Alan Smith from 1956.

The event took place at the Grange City Hotel near the Tower of London.

  • Len takes us down Memory Lane

The wine flowed as memories were exchanged and the four-hour event ended with the singing of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.

In a bold attempt to slightly alter this tradition, I did suggest hymn number 377, which we used to sing at school assembly, When A Night won his Spurs, and the Tottenham anthem Glory Glory Halleluyah, but this was declined. Can’t think why…

Here’s to next year.


All pictures: Colin Grainger



  1. John Jeffries
    October 1, 2019

    I have been reading about my old school, Plaistow Grammar, and was interested to see the reunion articles. Would you know if another is planned?
    I attended from 1959 to ’63, when I moved with my family to North London.
    I would particularly like to contact a Ronnie Rance who was in the same class as me. His family had a greengrocery stall on Rathbone Street market. I have searched elsewhere but no luck yet.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Colin Grainger
      November 12, 2019

      Hi John
      The reunions are organised by Len Filtness. We have a Facebook page. It’s called Plaistow Grammar Oldies Reunited. If you join that, it will tell you when the next one is planned. There is no date yet. I’ll try to remember to message you when it is as well.

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This article was written on 03 Sep 2018, and is filed under Pat Holland, Plaistow, Plaistow Grammar School, school reunions.

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