A former schoolfriend of George Michael has recalled some of his early musical outings with Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley.

Kim White (née Mallon) lived in Middle Furlong, Bushey and was in the same class as Andrew Ridgeley’s younger brother Paul.

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She attended Bushey Meads from 1975 to 1980.

Kim said: “We were split into groups for different subjects so I wasn’t in every class with Paul, but I remember him and George as friends at school, though we were in the year below him and Andrew.

“I knew they practised in St Peter’s church hall up in Bushey Heath and were in a band called The Executive.”

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The five-piece ska band, formed in the summer of 1979, comprised George, Andrew and Paul along with David Austin and Andrew Leaver.

Their first gig was at Bushey and Oxhey Methodist church hall on Bonfire Night, where they played their debut track, Rude Boy.

The band were also known to play a ska version of Andy Williams’ Can’t Get Used To Losing You and even a version of Beethoven’s Für Elise.

An inability to get A&R representation or secure proper gigs led to the demise of the group in 1980, leaving George and Andrew to pursue pop fame as a duo.

Kim said: “We didn’t see much of them after leaving school and the first thing I remember hearing about them, and I’ll never forget this, is when we went round the corner to my friend Paul Smith’s house and his dad Steve said ‘Oh my god, You won’t believe who’s on Top of The Pops’. He just went ballistic in the front room.

“I think Paul was there, too, playing drums on at least a couple of the tracks.”

Andrew, who lived on Coldharbour Lane, was the more flamboyant of the two – other pupils recall George as quite studious, but remember Andrew more for his suede hi-tops and flashy sports car.

Kim said: “Andrew was the one who stood out and the driving force behind the band. George was completely different from how you saw him on stage.

“Of all the people who have died this year this is the worst because it’s personal. It’s someone you saw every day, someone you grow up with, I felt really really sad, but mainly for his family as it’s them that will feel it the most.”

Teachers she recalls from her time at the school are department head Mr Swann, Miss Jeffries, who taught English, and Mr George, who taught biology.

Music lessons were held in a block built the year after she started under the tutelage of Miss Mendleson Roth.

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