Five decades on, women meet in West Wittering for sleepover

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IT’S NOT every day you hear of a group of 73-year-olds enjoying a sleepover.

A group of women who went to Gumley House School, Isleworth, have met annually for the past 56 years to reminisce about their school days.

Sheila Sorsyth, 73, has hosted the week-long sleepover each year since they all left the girls’ grammar school over half a century ago.

“It began with homemade wine and a sing-song, now we’ve slowed down a bit and it’s turned into a glass of Pimms with the crossword,” said Sheila.

The women flock to Sheila’s home in West Wittering, saying the sleeping bags and shared bedrooms take them back to their Gumley days.

“No one has changed,” Sheila says, “except for a bit of grey hair!”

Anne believes having close friends that keeps her feeling so young, even when earlier this year she broke her collar bone playing netball she still claims she is ‘young at heart’.

Neither this nor the weather seem to have stopped them enjoying their bowls tournament this week.

What makes this year even more special is the two new additions to the party; Gill, who got in touch through the Friends Reunited website, and Norma who took everyone by surprise when she arrived with Anne at this year’s festivities.

Norma commented: “Seeing them for the first time in 56 years was wonderful. Nobody has changed, it feels just like yesterday we were schoolgirls.”

However, it is Jean who says: “The hero of the week is, and always has been, Sheila’s husband.

“He keeps to himself while we wander around the house in dressing gowns!”