May 18 2013 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister , Senior Reporter
Thursday, April 5, 2012
A couple who met and fell in love at a Dagenham secondary school 60 years ago took a nostalgic tour around the original building before it is demolished.
Pam and Ken Lee, both 73, were invited to Dagenham Park Church of England School last Wednesday, as pupils and staff spent their final week in the 1934 building.
After the Easter holidays they are due to move into a £26million newly constructed block of classrooms.
Mr and Mrs Lee – who were given a tour around both the old and the new building – paired up in 1950 when they were both 12-year-old pupils at the school, which was then called Marley Secondary School.
Mrs Lee recalls the moment she first set eyes on her childhood sweetheart.
“The school was split into two sections then,” she said. “One for boys and one for girls. I was in the playground one day when I saw Ken looking down at us all from a window.
“The boys and girls weren’t supposed to interact with each other but we found ways and I soon got to know him.
“I thought he was really nice and it wasn’t long before we became boyfriend and girlfriend.”
The pair stayed together throughout their time at Dagenham Park, split at the age of 17, reunited around six months later, then married at Dagenham Parish Church in 1960. They have three children and one grandchild together.
Mrs Lee, of Lakeside, Hornchurch, says the tour of the original building was both enjoyable and sad.
She said: “It brought back happy memories but to know it will soon be taken down was a bit upsetting.
“However the new school looks fantastic and the pupils are lucky to be getting such great facilities.”
As the couple moved from Dagenham to Rainham 50 years ago their children did not go to Dagenham Park.
However their eldest son Stuart, 49, worked on the new building as a sound and lighting technician.
The new school, which was funded by the now axed government programme Building Schools for the Future, boasts around 45 classrooms. Netball courts and landscaped gardens will be built on the site of the old school which will be knocked down over the next three months. It is hoped the whole project will be completed by October.