Trainee teachers went back to the classroom after fifty years

Teachers who started their training at Bede Tower, Ryhope Road, Sunderland in 1966, gathered for a reuniuon at Bede Tower.

Teachers who started their training at Bede Tower, Ryhope Road, Sunderland in 1966, gathered for a reuniuon at Bede Tower.

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Students were back in Sunderland five decades after starting their training in the town.

More than 100 people took part in a weekend back in the city to celebrate 50 years since they started their teacher training courses.

Sunderland was so important to us, it was a fantastic place to be.

Colin Bentley

Then part of Durham University, the teacher training college, was based in Wearside at Langham Tower in Mowbray Road and the former friends were delighted to be reunited and remember the fun they had.

Colin Bentley, 68, one of the organisers of the get together, said it was great to visit some of the old buildings they used, including Bede Tower.

One of the former lecturers, Tony Everett, went along to talk with the students during one of their evenings staying at the Marriott Hotel.

Colin, who drove from Devon for the event, said people travelled from far afield to be there, including one former friend flying in from America and two from Australia.

He said: “When I walked in and saw people I hadn’t seen for years, including one lad who I was best man for at his wedding, it was very emotional.”

The teacher, who spent a few years at Southmoor School after leaving college, said Sunderland holds very happy memories for them all.

He said: “Sunderland was so important to us, it was a fantastic place to be.

“The 60s was a phenomenal era to be a student in. Everyone was filled with incredible aspirations for their future and everything was going to be great.

“Sunderland at that time was a very important place, it was massive nationally.

“The atmosphere in the town then was wonderful, it was buzzing and to us as students Sunderland was the centre of the universe.”

He said the students were proud to be part of the teaching college and Durham University and he remembers all the fun times they had, including having successful football and netball teams.