This was one of the Markhouse Drama Club’s best kept secrets with not even a ‘stage whisper’ that might forewarn Cyril of the plans that had been put in hand to mark his retirement and, more importantly, to thank him for all of his work over the previous 20 plus years.
Keeping the secret proved not to be a problem for 99% of the Drama Club members – past and present – but not quite so easy for Alec and Jennifer who had to find a plausible excuse for not only needing to stop at the School ‘on the way’ (to whatever false ‘event’ they had concocted), but also getting Mr & Mrs ‘M’ out of the car and ‘popping in’ without giving the game away – especially as the place was, at the alloted time, shrouded in darkness. Perhaps they had ‘twigged’ by the time they got to the top of the ‘iron stairs’ (ex pupils will recognise the name) but even if they had, there was still really genuine surprise (or shock!) on their faces when the number and ‘coverage’ of the assembled throng was revealed at the switch of a light – with their ‘last’ group of members being complemented by several of the ‘originals’ and a good many more from the intervening years!
The evening proved to be a fitting finale to the tremendous contribution that Cyril Malyon – and Hilda – had made to the lives of so many young people!