Nostalgia: US Exchange at Wellfield High School in Leyland - From school dinners to Sloppy Joes

Alison is the third from the front on the right. The girl opposite her is Renee Woodford, who was her exchange student.
Alison is the third from the front on the right. The girl opposite her is Renee Woodford, who was her exchange student.
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A previous school memory of an exchange in America sparked more interest from a loyal reader down in Dorset.

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Pupils at Wellfield High School, who went on a cultural exchange programme. Stephen Broomhead is on the second row, third from the right. Organiser Miss Audrey Malley is front row next to the end on the right

Pupils at Wellfield High School, who went on a cultural exchange programme. Stephen Broomhead is on the second row, third from the right. Organiser Miss Audrey Malley is front row next to the end on the right

Alison Macintyre (nee Jones), 59, who grew up in Leyland, sent in this photograph of her time in Elkins, West Virginia, during the cultural exchange programme from Wellfield High School.

The mother-of-one, who is a district nurse, says; “We were the first ones to make the exchange in 1973.

“I remember it being a time of great excitement for us all.

“We started planning a whole year before the trip, with regular meetings at school and events to raise money.

“My friend and I had a shopping trip we were given some money to buy new clothes for the trip – most of the things we bought were identical.

“Our first stop was in New York and we visited most of the sights.

“One memory was going out for breakfast and being given rare beef. We were all disgusted. But we did love the pancakes.

“From New York, we travelled to Elkins on one of those yellow buses.

“I remember it being very old and some of the seats were loose.

“When we arrived in Elkins we were treated like celebrities.

“The local radio and press interviewed us.

“We attended school with our hosts, the lessons seemed very different from our own.

“Each morning the whole class stood and faced the American flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

“There were so many new things at an American school, from marching bands, cheer leaders and their football team – Elkins Tigers. It seemed that everyone in the school watched them play.

“My host was Renee Woodford. Her family owned the local oil distribution centre. Her house seemed enormous, I had my own bedroom with an en suite bathroom.

“The family made me very welcome. The host families arranged outings and parties. Sloppy Joes are the main thing I remember from most of these. It was like mince beef in a bun and seemed very strange to us.

“The American students then visited us in Leyland, which was a great time. We took them out and again arranged get-togethers in the evenings and weekends.

“I have very fond memories of that time, and was certainly one of the major highlights of my time at Wellfield.”