I was delighted to hear from a very dear old friend, John Bailey, via the Echo Letters pages (2.6.20).

Although it was bitter sweet for John who discussed his memories including those sore, freshly caned hands, and his surprise at the demise of his old college at St Marys here in Bitterne Park.

I have personal memories of St Marys College too.

During the sixties the Brothers would put on the best in “Live Music” in a tightly packed yet spacious wooden building in the heart of the St Mary’s grounds.

Us teens around 14 to 16, years of age would flock, listen and dance to “Nite People” as you almost soaked up the essence of their record release “Sweet Tasting Wine” and got Mod Rocked by their blistering instro version of Summertime Blues.

The brilliant ”Fusion Road Show” were also there and their superb lead singer Ray Dancer would give it that Cliff Bennett “One Way Love” and dance his slick moves.

“Got The Whistle at Squires” - I think he said to me - asking of his his attire - as he ghosted by in the interval.

I meant the zip up shiny blue jacket but not to worry.

Anyone who knows me, knows I would never wear Royal Blue anyway.

Nite People from Bournemouth were quite close enough thanks in their brilliance.

John Bailey though could have got on the wrong end of the bamboo that stung like adders for trespassing onto an empty playing field sometimes of a weekend as we temporarily forsook our cozy sloping pitch on council land in Neva Road.

For we played on “Little Wembley” as we called it - for many years. It’s now got barriers in the way.

You were chancing the wroth of the Brothers if you ventured on those sacred playing fields as they jealously guarded Old Simmarian and School pitches from us.

I would say ”Lets get this kick around over and done before the “Derek’s” catch us”. The lads fell about as I was referring to the misadventures of actor Derek Nimmo on BBC TV in all his finery in “All And Gaiters” or “Oh Brother”. They should have called him ”Derek The Cleric”.

Sure enough the Monks would put in an appearance and were so funny scooping up their” habits” trying to catch us - laughing all the way back to our spiritual home in Neva Road where mazy runs, scorching shots, blinding saves and crunching tackles were all made.

St Marys Schools though will be sadly missed in this area and I am as sad as anyone who ever attended the place for their education.

Chris Newman