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Reunion to get old boys of Farningham Homes for Boys in Horton Kirby back together

Generations of young lads who were given a chance of a better future despite family difficulties are reuniting after years apart.

Farningham Homes for Boys was based in Horton Kirby and housed boys from all walks of life and from across the country.

Made up of a series of detached houses, Farningham provided youngsters who had no family, or whose family could not afford to care for them, a place to live, learn and be nurtured.

Young lads gather together for a photo with one of the staff at Farningham

After caring for hundreds of boys over the years, the homes closed down in 1961.

Since then, the Farningham Old Boys Association has tried to commemorate the work.

David Jones, 65, from Blackpool, spent four years at Farningham and is holding a reunion.

It will take place on Saturday, September 20, and will include a service at St Mary the Virgin Church, Horton Kirby.

Mr Jones said: “Boys went to the homes that had come from all walks of life.

“They’d even come from single-parent families because back then it was frowned upon to be a single parent.

“There were some who didn’t have any parents and were just left there.”

A group of the boys meet war hero Field Marshal Montgomery who was a patron at Farningham.

Farningham is now a residential community for the elderly, with new properties built around a community hall.

When the youngsters lived there, it was surrounded by countryside, providing quite a change of scenery for lads who had travelled from industrial cities.

They had a range of activities to enjoy at Farningham including working on its farm. There was also a chance to learn a trade like cobbling or a skill such as calligraphy.

Times have changed since the homes closed their doors, with extensive safety procedures put in place to protect children.

While these serve a vital purpose, it makes former members hard to track down.

Boys line up ready to take part in a sports day race event

Mr Jones said: “I have a book with about 240 names in it, a lot of them went on to other children’s homes and unfortunately I couldn’t get access to their details and where they went on to from there.

“A lot of the boys came from London and around the South East. We just want them to know we are throwing a reunion so people are aware of it.”

The reunion will begin at 2.30pm and will include refreshments and a meeting in Shaw Hall in Gorringe Avenue, South Darenth.

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