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Wooooooo, after a pretty groggy start to the day, I’ve just been cheered up no end by hearing from a close school chum that I’d lost touch with over 15 years ago. And it was all thanks to a website that I registered with just a few days ago! I had a notification from there to say that somebody from my old school wanted to get in touch, and now we’re emailing each other thick and fast and hoping to meet up as soon as we possibly can!
Check out www.friendsreunited.co.uk, a site dedicated to helping you to find lost school pals from both junior and senior school. Set up in July 2000, you can register for free and only need to provide very basic details such as your names from school, the school you attended and the year you left. You can include both primary and secondary schools if you wish. Or as many schools as you like if you attended several! If you’re not sure of the year you left, just type in your current age and the site will calculate this automatically for you. You can write a little update about yourself too for members to read, but this is entirely optional. And if you do this, be aware that anybody registered with the site can view these details so don’t include any personal telephone numbers, addresses etc! Oh, and you can even include an old school photo if you’re brave enough!
I was pleasantly surprised to see that both my Junior and High Schools were already listed so I didn’t need to add them to the database. In fact, over 24000 schools are already included in the database so the chances are, yours will be too. If not, it’s a matter of adding the details yourself but this is very straightforward and you receive email confirmation when the details are added.
Once registered, you can then view a list of ex students from your school(s) that have also become members of the site. My friend Sally wasn’t listed when I registered, but she joined later in the day and spotted me right away. It’s soooo good to be back in touch again. :O) And what a coincidence that we both registered on the site on the same day?
The list of ex students is shown in year of leaving order, so you can see at a glance the names of any students who left school the same time that you did. All years are shown where applicable. There were two names listed beside myself, both of whom I remember vaguely but wasn’t particularly close to. But I was able to have a sneaky look at their profile to find out what they were up to these days and will continue to pop back often to see whether anybody else I remember has registered.
One of the nice things about the site is that your email address is kept private until you make your first contact, and initial contacts are made through the site itself. To contact one of the names listed, all you have to do is click on the little envelope icon next to their name and fill out the online form. Your message is then delivered to your friend but your email address will be included within the message. This isn’t a free service, to take advantage of the contact feature; you need to upgrade your membership, at a cost of £5. This covers you for unlimited use and you won’t have to pay anything else, so is pretty good value. And you can view all the names from your school at no cost at all, so a fiver seems a small price to pay to resume an old trusted friendship!
There are also message boards applicable to each school, and you can add to these if you want to, but again, you must have upgraded your membership. Reading previously posted messages is completely free however. You can add details about school reunions, or comments on old teachers, or even list any famous ex-students!
Overall, a very useful site, still in its infancy but proving to be very popular already. There were over 90 ex students listed from my own secondary school, with years of leaving ranging from 1967 to 1995. Not bad for a site that has been launched for such a short period of time! Check it out and have your own wander down memory lane! :O)
I have been very fortunate with this site. I have already been contacted by 5 old school chums and there are loads of names I recognise whom I will contact once I have paid the £5!I left junior school 30 years ago and 4 of my contacts have been from there! Amazing! Very nice op by the way.
notionlogic 21.09.2001 09:54
I found this site a while ago following a friends recommendation but I never could see the point of paying out as I wasn't sure I wanted to actually get in touch with anyone ;-)
Now that your op has given me the low down on member benefits I guess I'd better stop being Mr Tightwad and spend that fiver !
pauljm 06.09.2001 11:22
Hi, I think the features that require subscription are varying a bit over time. You still need to pay up in order to send an email and now need to pay to post a picture (I think that's probably counterproductive of the operators) but you can post comments on the school memory boards without. Great site even though I've not seen anyone I particularly want to spend £5 to contact (yet), Paul.