Advantages Easy way to catch up with old friends
Disadvantages They get to realise how old you look
Do you ever reminisce on your school days and wonder what happened to certain people you used to be friendly with? Then look no further than www.friendsreunited.co.ukThis is a site designed for people in the UK to make contact with old school friends. We all know how easy it can be to lose contact with people as you grow older, move house, leave the area and get married. Ok, so there are some people that you wouldn't want to meet up with again from your schooldays, but I often wondered about old school mates who I'd lost contact with when I moved away from home.
The site is run by a husband and wife team, Julie and Steve Pankhurst, who live in Barnet, North London. Julie was pregnant with their first child and was wondering what had happened to her old school friends. Were they married, did they have kids, etc. Julie decided to put her spare time to use by learning basic internet skills to get the site up and running.In July 2000, the site was added to various search engines and by August 2000, the first person had written in, to tell the story of meeting up with an old school pal after 30 years.
In October 2000, the wheels were put in motion to get the site up and running properly, and by December that year, there were over 5,000 users already registered.In December 2000, the site was re-launched with a new look, and has stayed that way to the present day.
The site now has over 5 million users and is in the top ten most visited websites in Britain. No mean feat!Thanks to the website, hundreds of reunions have taken place all over the country and Friends Reunited even has same famous celebrity names registered on the site. There have been stories, good and bad, in the newspapers, of old flames that have been re-ignited, due to people meeting up from the site.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a specific person, rather than someone you attended school with, it is possible to do a name search. However, a name like David Smith is going to bring up masses of results!!!!!The first option is just to simply register with the site. This can be done by using your email address, choosing a password, and choosing what school(s) you would like your entry to be listed against. If this option is chosen, you can not contact anyone, and they can only make contact with you if they have paid their fee. You can also list yourself under workplaces and teams or clubs. Teams and clubs is the newest addition to the site, workplaces was introduced last year (I think).
There is also the option of a newsletter which is free. This is not published often, and is emailed to you. Also emails will be sent when new members have been added to your school. As time has gone one, these emails are not as regular as they once were, as the majority of people who want to register have done so already.When finding a workplace, there are obviously going to be many that are not listed on the site. It is possible to add these. I had to with some of my previous workplaces, as they were small companies.
If you decide that you want to contact someone, you do have to pay, but only a small fee - £5.00 by credit card. This fee is payable once per year, value for money or what!!!! You can then contact people who have registered on the site.You then have the choice of whether you want to add any information about yourself, such as your marital status, job and what you have been doing since leaving school. This is not mandatory.
Contacting people is easy. Once you have found the person you are looking for, just click on the envelope next to their name, type what you want to say, sometimes a bit difficult after twenty or thirty years(!), and an email will be sent to them. At this point their email address will not be revealed to you. This is to safeguard the other party, in case they decide they want no contact with you.I have entered myself under all the schools I attended and have had a lot of response. I have met up with numerous old school friends and it is amazing how quickly you are relaxed in their company if you knew them well from school. An old male friend who contacted me is currently trying to arrange a school reunion for our year, sometime next year.
I have been contacted by several old friends and although we are now living all over the globe, we now stay in contact. It’s great to find out the diversity of our lives and how they have panned out.There are obviously downsides to the site too. Some people may not be as you remember them. I have been in contact with an old flame, who is nothing like he was all those moons ago when we were together, but that's another story...............
Other features on the site include:Message boards – here you can leave messages relevant to your school. Messages often include reunion dates.
Photo Board – this is great. I emailed some photos to an old school friend and he has now plastered these on our photo board – pictures of our year 10 trip to Russia and don’t we look a motley crew!Famous pupil – obvious what this one is. Even though I come from a rural part of the country, we have one famous person in our midst. He went on to become a television presenter so he gets a mention here.
There are also sections for school memories: first day at school, best lessons etc. Some of this make hysterical reading, especially when you know the person involved.Teacher memories – another goodie, I’m sure we all have some teacher that either frightened us to death or was an inspiration to us. Some funny and also poignant memories in this section.
There is a fun section on the site, which enables you to re-take your exams on line. There are two sections, 11 plus and GCSE. Exams currently running are biology, mathematics and physics for GCSE and mathematics, science and verbal reasoning for the 11 plus. I haven’t done this for a while but I did do a GCSE Maths paper a while back and still passed – phew!The marks given for this are accurate but it does state on the site that no qualification can be given!!!!!!!
If you haven’t seen or heard of this site, I’d recommend you give it a look, it’s great fun.
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