School record that will never be broken

For almost 50 years, Marian Foster had listened to a recording of an anthem sung at her school's 250th anniversary and wondered who was the owner of the rich baritone voice singing the solo.

For almost 50 years, Marian Foster had listened to a recording of an anthem sung at her school's 250th anniversary and wondered who was the owner of the rich baritone voice singing the solo.

Marian Foster and John Scott

But it wasn't until she returned for the school's 300th anniversary this year that she met the singer she'd been listening to for half a century - and discovered that he lived just up the road.

Ms Foster, a former presenter of the BBC's Pebble Mill At One programme, has an old 78 vinyl recording of an anthem sung when Dame Allan's School marked its 250th year in 1955.

And when she took it along to rehearsals for a concert celebrating the school's 300th anniversary she was amazed to be introduced to the singer, John Scott.

Mr Scott, a former national sales manager for Proctor and Gamble, lives less than a mile away from Ms Foster's Ponteland home, in Darras Hall.

Now the two former pupils - who have retained ties to Dame Allan's for over half a century - are looking forward to a reunion ball being held to celebrate the school's tercentenary.

Ms Foster said: "I was in my first year at school and bought the record for a souvenir of the 250th anniversary. I heard this fantastic voice and I've often played it since then, wondering who it was.

"It took a while, but 50 years later I discovered who it was.

"The music on that record, and the whole ethos of music at Dame Allan's, inspired me to get involved in music and I've been involved ever since."

Ms Foster's record captures an anthem sung for Dame Allan's 250th anniversary in 1955.

The school repeated the exercise for its 300th birthday with a special concert at the The Sage Gateshead earlier this year, with Ms Foster and Mr Scott returning to join current pupils in the choir.

Mr Scott, whose wife and children also went to Dame Allan's said of the original: "The recording was made in school.

"You can hear some background noise if you listen carefully."

Mr Scott, who was president of the school's Old Boys Association, is now chairman of the Dame Allan's Trust. Ms Foster is a governor of the school.

Dame Allan's - which is now based in Fenham, Newcastle - was founded in 1705 when Dame Eleanor Allan, the daughter of a Newcastle goldsmith, endowed a school to serve two Tyneside parishes.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer