CLASSMATES and teachers reunited to celebrate the 50th birthday of their Highworth school.

Hundreds of people gathered at Westrop School and Nursery to enjoy music and games in the sunshine at the 60s-themed birthday bash.

The school's first headteacher Dennis Toomer marvelled at how the school has grown since he was in charge.

The 85-year-old said: "It's been wonderful to see how things have changed at Westrop, meet up with old members of staff and talk to some of the children who study there now.

"There are far more buildings and facilities than when I was head, the layout inside is different, it's remarkable.

"Westrop was always an extremely happy and supportive school, the children were lovely to work with.

"The fact that so many former staff were at the event is testament to the fact that it was a very happy place to work.

"The party was a very pleasant way to spend the day. There were so many people there.which shows support for the school is still strong."

April Payne, 74, cooked in the kitchen for 30 yeas. She said: "I really enjoyed my time there, we used to make all the meals from scratch and hand-decorate the cakes."

Mayor Julia Bishop said a few words to the crowd before excited nursery and schoolchildren aged two to 11 played music, sang and danced.

Classic vehicles and photos from decades past evoked a strong sense of nostalgia for older visitors who caught up with old friends over a cuppa while younger ones played basketball and football, lapped up ice creams and checked out the chicken enclosure.

Victoria Edmonds, 32, brought her partner and three young children to the event.

She said: "It was a lovely day with a nice atmosphere. I came to this school when I was younger so I saw a lot of former teachers at the party, which was great.

"The kids enjoyed getting glitter tattoos, having their faces painted, going on the bouncy castle and playing 'splat the rat'. We really enjoyed watching the music and dancing, too."

Headteacher Cindy Akers said: "I grew up in Highworth but I never thought I'd be the head of a school here, it's lovely.

"I was made permanent headteacher in January and I'm very honoured to be head during this momentous year.

"The town is a great community, as this event showed. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces, there's a lot of nostalgia. Our amazing staff worked so hard with the parent teacher association to organise it."