A DOZEN former school pals reunited after 53 years apart - all thanks to the power of social media.

Tom Weston, a former St Benedict's Catholic College pupil, set up the reunion.

And thanks to modern technology he was able to contact 13 of his former chums and they finally met at The George Hotel.

The former pupils had not all been together since they left the school in 1966.

Mr Weston, 67, from Colchester, said: "Using all methods of social media and Facebook groups I was able to contact 13 of these fellas.

"Some of us had gone through primary school and secondary school together.

"We had much to talk about, life experiences, loves, careers, relationships. We never stopped laughing for those four and a half hours.

"The personalities and characteristics that bonded us as children are as strong today as they were in our childhood.

"The mutual warmth and camaraderie was rather moving.

"We had a lovely time drinking, eating and reminiscing."

While many of the friends still live in Essex some traveled from Derbyshire and Norfolk for the meet up.

The group now have a Whats App group and Mr Weston says they "regularly entertain each other with texts and photos".

Mr Weston added: "The staff at The George were most hospitable and will be our home for future reunions.

"We celebrated being alive, surviving the obstacles in those 53 years, we raised a glass to absent friends.

"We had all gone off and done our own things but we had all been successful.

"One of the guys also got up and paid for the meal for everyone - it was nice that we were all like minded and generous with each other.

"We all felt a really close bond even though we hadn't seen each other for 53 years."

For the next reunion in two weeks one pal will be flying in from Italy.

Mr Weston is still hoping to get more people along and arrange future events.

If you were a St Benedict's pupil who left in the year 1966/7 email tfweston@gmail.com.