Old Dundee school reunion to be celebrated ‘the Whitfield way’

Kevin Thomson hopes to relive some fond memories at the Whitfield High reunion

Memories of Dundee’s old Whitfield High School will be brought to life at a special reunion tomorrow.

Tickets for the event at the Michelin Social Club were snapped up in days, with former pupils from as far away as Newcastle and Carlisle travelling up to their former stomping ground.

However, the event might not have happened had Kevin Thomson not been persuaded by friends to organise it.

Whitfield is close to Kevin’s heart having grown up in Ormiston Crescent before moving to Maybole Place while attending the high school.

Whitfield High in 1996 ahead of its closure
Whitfield High in 1996 ahead of its closure

The 50-year-old, who now lives in Carnoustie, recently set up the popular Whitfield High – The Wonder Years Facebook group.

Having surpassed 1,000 members, ex-pupils urged him to arrange a get-together in addition to reminiscing online.

The theme of memories is an important one for Kevin, who was compelled to reconnect with former pals after harrowing experiences at work.

He said: “I got inspiration to set up the group from my work.

“I work in a care home and you see people with dementia who have absolutely no memories, it’s horrific.

“I wanted to do something that would keep our memories alive.

“It was one Saturday morning after that that I invited six people to the group then it went very big very quick from there.”

Kevin’s fond memories from his time at the school between 1978 and 1982 include meeting his pals at the Whitfield Spar for cigarettes and trying to get a “kerry oot”.

A group of Whitfield High pupils, 1978.
A group of Whitfield High pupils, 1978.

Many more similar stories will be shared tomorrow and Kevin says the whole night will go back to basics.

He explained: “We’ll keep it basic, there will be no pretentious speeches. We’ll do it the Whitfield way.

“We’ve got a DJ who’ll be playing a retro set with music from the day, a buffet and a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses.

“It’s going to be a feel-good event. We were all brought up in quite a deprived area so we want to keep it real.”

Money raised on the night will be donated to Braeview Academy (which replaced Whitfield High around 20 years ago) and local charity Link-Up Whitfield.

With the popularity of the reunion, some who did not manage to get a ticket have said they will just turn up on the night.

Kevin has urged people not to do so as it could risk the event being closed down.

The entrance to Whitfield High School
The entrance to Whitfield High School

He added: “When people hand over their ticket, they will be given a small ‘Straight Outta Whitfield’ badge.

“They don’t have to wear it if they don’t want, but it will just show those who have bought a ticket.

“We don’t want those without one turning up as the venue could shut down the event due to it being over-capacity.

“We hope to get a live feed on the Facebook group going for people who can’t make it on the night.”

Kevin, who has been aided in the running of his group by school pals Dianne Ellis, Lynn Gordon and Carol Ann Scott Flowers, is optimistic for the future of ‘The Wonder Years’.

He said: “I was thinking of arranging a walk around the old school grounds in the summer in memory of an old pal that recently passed away.

“We just want to keep the memories alive.”