Former pupils travelled from all over the country in 1992 to meet an American exchange teacher they had not seen for 15 years.

The class of Stramongate Primary School 1977 were reunited with the sweet-toothed teacher who taught them as ten and 11 year-olds.

They related their lives during the past 15 years to John Stangl, the teacher from Minnesota, USA, who had touched their lives.

On a flying visit back to this country with his wife, Mr Stangl had been determined to track down the pupils he last saw as fresh-faced youngsters to find out what had happened to them.

As they stood about chatting in the playground, the memories came flooding back for the 19 pupils who turned up for the impromptu reunion.

Gary Hyland, then a K-shoes inspector, remembered Mr Stangl making popcorn for the Thanksgiving Day celebrations he introduced at the Kendal school.

His mother used to send the popcorn over in bulk during Mr Stangl’s 12-month placement, recalled Heather Cockett, a lecturer in tourism at Lancaster.

Andrew McLeod, who worked at Mint Motors in Kendal. “It was seeing a whole different culture, although we did not appreciate it at the time,” he said.

Mr Stangl also showed the children how to make toffee during the Thanksgiving Day celebrations, remembered Sharon Mason.

And when he could not satisfy his sweet-tooth, pupils would be sent out to the nearby newsagents, said Rachel Otway (Mrs Lister), who journeyed from Accrington to see the American teacher.

Other Americanisms Mr Stangl introduced included brownies cakes, square dancing and his passion for the Minnesota Vikings, said car radiator engineer Mark Parker.

The song he taught in the lunchtimes was remembered by Rosalyn Coward (Mrs Game).

Dental receptionist Suzanne Pintin (nee Hill) and estate agency negotiator Julie Young (nee Carradus) agreed Mr Stangl had not changed that much during the 15 years.

Minnesota-based Mr Stangl, 43, who was still teaching, said of his grown-up class: "I am truly moved to see how polite, kind, interested and mature my old students have become. We are already planning a 30-year reunion."