FOUR school friends who had not seen each other for 50 years were reunited at a Hampshire college.

Phil King, Richard Hutchinson (Hutch), Alistair Bailey (Ali) and Alan Gitsham (Gitsh) who boarded at Peter Symonds Grammar School in Winchester met up.

It was the first time the gang had been back together since July 1967, when they left the school for various universities.

The reunion came about after Richard Hutchinson phoned Phil King, to ask if he had been at Peter Symonds’ School in the 60s.

Initially, Mr King thought it was a dodgy salesman, but when Mr Hutchinson said his nickname ‘Hutch’ - he instantly realised it was his school friend.

Mr Hutchinson had used the internet to track down Mr King, and the pair then got together and contacted Alistair Bailey (Ali) and Alan Gitsham (Gitsh).

The four had been part of the same boarding house and shared a dormitory.

Mr King said: “Peter Symonds’ was a very different place in the 1960s - a boys’ grammar with six hundred-plus pupils, about a quarter of who were boarders.

“A lot will have changed but what seems not to have changed is the academic excellence.

“In those days about five percent of the population went to university but about 50 percent of our upper sixth went that way and most of the others went on to some form of higher education.

“There were a lot of talented people.

“ One I recall particularly was a very gifted musician who used to cause great amusement at morning assembly.

“While playing the serious and solemn entry music, Mike would insert a perfectly timed bar or two of the latest Beatles song. He was Mike Batt, now famous composer, lyricist and musician.”

“Peter Symonds’ did not suit everyone in the sixties but it did a great job for many of us. There were some quite outstanding teachers.

“I remember my time fondly and thank all for the start they gave me.”