DURING the Second World War years a school's sport fields grew vegetables, in the 1960s the buildings underwent big structural developments and in more recent years its alumni has included Commonwealth Games champions.

And to celebrate its 80 years of history and achievement, St Birinus School in Didcot held a community celebration last Friday.

The school in Mereland Road opened its doors in September 1936 as Didcot Senior Boys' School for boys aged 11 to 15.

Its first headteacher Mr E L Hutchings wrote in his log book: "The boys attended this school for the first time today; 226 children were placed on the roll."

One of those 226 children was Terry Fisher, who returned to the school for the day's celebrations.

Marcia Blackman, the school's exam and data administrator, organised the day, which received Big Lottery funding.

She said: "Following the Heralding the Past column in the Didcot Herald last week [about the birthday celebrations], Mr Fisher got in touch with the school and asked if he could come along.

"It was absolutely wonderful for him to be able to come along to the event.

"He said he remembers being in Trojan house, so I think it was really quite moving to have him come back and be on his old stomping ground."

Another blast from the past during the celebrations was the art department's Beatles mural.

It paid homage to a 1960s mural, which was created by students and then used as the backdrop for the band's performance on Ready, Steady, Go!

Mrs Blackman added: "It was really fantastic to be able to recreate that moment.

"Although we didn't have The Beatles singing 'Can't Buy Me Love' in front of it this time, we had Northbourne Primary School choir perform a medley of hits from across the years.

"It was just another lovely way to connect with the school's interesting past."

To start the community event, a rally of MG cars and an old double decker bus entered through the school gates.

Mrs Blackman said: "I really loved that moment as we had all the Year 7 students waving and cheering the cars in.

"The MG Car Club and Oxford Bus Museum were brilliant in making sure the children got in the cars and were very hands on.

"One of them exclaimed that it must be an old car because it still had a map inside it."

An afternoon tea was also enjoyed by retired guests, which was put together by English teacher Karen Taylor.