All posts by Naomi Ireland-Jones

Scholarship and Bursary Awards Announcement


Today, St Chad’s Day, the College is delighted to announce that, because of the generosity of our alumni and friends, we have been able to award scholarships to four of our students. As a college, we are committed to developing ways to give our students the support they need to succeed through their studies and in their wider lives; these scholarships are a very practical way of making a difference through the gifts of our alumni.



Ermos Chrysochos is a first year Liberal Arts student, in his second term at St Chad’s.  He has already been making his mark: he gave the ‘Toast to the Immortal Memory’ at the College Burns’ Supper in January and is already a passionate Chadsian.  He has been awarded a Shattock Family Scholarship worth £3,000 for each year of his undergraduate degree course. Ermos is an accomplished violinist who started to play at the age of eight and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for four years.  One of his challenges is the cost of combining his degree with his musical ambitions; a student loan does not cover violin lessons. Being awarded this scholarship, however, will mean that Ermos will be able to study with the co-leader of the Northern Sinfonia at the Sage in Gateshead and continue to be a leading member of the Durham University Orchestral Society.

“Music to me”, comments Ermos, “whether listening or making it, brings people together whatever their background. So, whilst the scholarship will immensely benefit me personally, I also know I will use it to live up to our College motto: ‘Non vestra sed vos’ – ‘Not what you have but who you are’.


This award has been made possible through the generosity of St Chad’s alumnus Matthew Shattock and his family.

“I am convinced that this is a very worthy cause … the creation of this scholarship programme to supplement those without the full means, but with the unquestionable ability, to benefit from the collegiate education which has shaped my own life and career indelibly. I had the benefit of a fully funded education at Durham and this turned out to be a life changing experience for me.  I hope to contribute to the same opportunity for others.”

-Matthew Shattock (Politics, 1980-83)



Third year Law undergraduate Marianne Holbrook has been awarded one of our first three Joe Cassidy Memorial Bursaries of £1,000 which honour the memory of our late Principal, Dr Joe Cassidy. Marianne has been a volunteer teacher in Malawi, Senegal and South Africa where, she says, her “interest in promoting human rights and justice in the face of political instability and in socially complex environments developed.”

She is hoping to pursue a career in economic and foreign aid policy development with the UN. Marianne applied for this Joe Cassidy award so that she can further her interests in social justice and continue to undertake volunteer and internship positions.



Stephanie Higgins, a first year Liberal Arts student, also receives a Cassidy Memorial award.  For Stephanie, receiving a scholarship from St Chad’s means that she can be fully involved in College and wider university life and work, and not have to take on yet more hours in her part-time on-line tutoring job.

Stephanie said, “I recently participated in a ‘Rice and Beans’ challenge where we ate only plain rice and beans for a week to raise awareness of food poverty and money for Tearfund. Being the recipient of a scholarship will help me to do more volunteering in social action projects within Durham”.


Nathaniel Attenborough is the first member of his family to attend university and wants to make the most of the opportunities that both his Cell Biology degree and being at St Chad’s can offer.  He volunteers in a local youth club when at home and is fully involved in College life at St Chad’s during term time: “I greatly enjoy everyday life around College and genuinely feel a part of a college family in ways friends at other universities cannot experience.”  Like too many students today, Nathaniel is worried about being able to afford living out of College next year; he said,

“This Joe Cassidy Scholarship will make a significant difference to my time at university, in relieving the distraction of financial worries and allowing me to truly embrace what Chad’s has to offer.”


SCR Member Honoured by The Queen


Gillian Allnutt, poet and St Chad’s SCR member, has been awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry by Her Majesty the Queen.  

The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. The award was presented to Gillian by The Queen on 21 February 2017.

The Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis either of a body of work over several years, or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award.

The Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy said of Gillian Allnutt’s writing:

“[It] roams across centuries, very different histories and lives, and draws together, without excuse or explanation, moments which link across country, class, culture and time.

The North is a constant touchstone in her work; canny and uncanny, its hills and coast, its ancient histories and its people.

Her poems progress over the years to a kind of synthesis of word-play and meditation. In her work the space between what is offered and what is withheld is every bit as important as what is said.

She has the power to comfort and to astonish in equal measure. In her outlook, her imagination, her concerns and her lyric voice she is unique.”

Gillian Allnutt was born in London in 1949 and spent much of her childhood in Newcastle upon Tyne before studying at the University of Cambridge. Her retrospective How the Bicycle Shone: New & Selected Poems (2007) draws on six published books plus a new collection, Wolf Light, and includes references to family ties in North Norfolk and her life in the North East.

Gillian was co-editor of The New British Poetry (1988) and from 2001 to 2003 held a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at Newcastle and Leeds Universities. Recently she has taught creative writing in the English Department here in Durham.

In 2009/10 Gillian held a writing residency with The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (now Freedom From Torture) in the North East, working with asylum seekers in Newcastle and Stockton.


  • Spitting the Pips Out (Sheba, 1981)
  • Beginning the Avocado (Virago, 1987)
  • Blackthorn (Bloodaxe Books, 1994)
  • Nantucket and the Angel (Bloodaxe Books, 1997)
  • Lintel (Bloodaxe Books, 2001)
  • Sojourner (Bloodaxe Books, 2004)
  • How the Bicycle Shone: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2007)
  • indwelling (Bloodaxe Books, 2013)



  • The New British Poetry (Paladin, 1988) (co-editor)

Sports Update…


Now that we’re halfway through Epiphany term many of our college sports teams are coming to the end of their league matches and moving on to the knockout-style tournaments, so it’s the perfect chance to have a look at how the leagues have gone for us so far. Plus a short report on recent rowing achievements.



This weekend (18-19th February) was Tyne head of the river, the biggest head race of the term; a fantastic opportunity for our senior women’s squad to get some experience on their first 5k race.

It was a brilliant race, fighting the current of the tide and some strong head-winds but the crew managed to beat Hatfield to come top college crew of their division. It’s a shame more Colleges didn’t enter however it was a great experience for the girls, and a great build up for next term where we want to try de-novice the crew.


Men’s Basketball

Div 1:  3 wins, 1 loss.  Current placing: 2nd


Round 1 vs Trevs: 34 -32

Round 2 vs Collingwood: 27-53


Women’s Basketball (Combined Chad’s John’s Team)

Div 2: 1 win 2 losses.   Current placing: 3rd


Round 1 vs Grey A: 16-47

Men’s Football

A Team

Div 1: 3 wins, 3 draws, 5 losses.   Current placing: 9th

Floodlit cup:

Round 1 vs Castle A: 1-5


Round 1 vs Castle A: 0-1


B Team

Div 5: 4 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses.   Current placing: 7th


Women’s Football

Div 1: 3 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses.   Current placing: 3rd

Floodlit cup:

Round 1 vs Ustinov A: 1-12


Round 1 vs St Aidan’s A: 0-3


Men’s Hockey

Premiership: 2 win, 3 draws, 7 losses.   Current placing: 7th


Round 1 vs St Aidan’s A: 3-2

Round 2 vs Hild Bede A: 1-4


Women’s Hockey

Div 1: 3 wins, 2 draws, 6 losses.    Current placing: Joint 4th


Round 1 vs  John Snow A: 0-3


Mixed Lacrosse

A Team

Div 1: 6 wins, 1 draw.    Current placing: 1st (Will be promoted to the Premiership next season)


Round 1 vs Stephenson A: 12-2

Round 2 vs Grey A: 8-3

Quarter finals vs St Cuthbert’s A: 11-3

Semi-finals TO PLAY


B Team

Div 2: 4 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses.   Current placing: 1st (Should be promoted to Division 1 next season)


Round 1 vs Grey B: 7-2

Round 2 vs University B: 0-6



Div 1: 8 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.   Current placing: 2nd



Div 2: 4 wins, 6 losses.    Current placing: 8th


Men’s Rugby (Chad’s John’s combined team)

Div 1: 3 wins, 4 losses.    Current placing: 5th


Women’s Rugby (Chad’s John’s combined team)

Premiership: 3 wins, 3 losses.    Current placing: 3rd


Round 1 vs “combined Milbut”: 0-39

Combined Chad’s John’s Women’s Rugby represented Durham at the College Varisty games against York on Saturday 25th February in a tag rugby game; they won 4-0.


Men’s Squash

Premiership: 4 wins, 4 losses.   Current placing: 7th


Round 1 vs John’s B: 5-0


Women’s Squash (Chad’s John’s combined team)

Premiership: 7 wins, 3 losses.    Current placing: 2nd


Round 1 vs Hatfield-Castle: 4-1


Table Tennis

Premiership: 7 wins, 3 losses.   Current placing: Joint 3rd


Men’s Badminton

Div 1: 5 wins, 3 losses.    Current placing: 4th


Women’s Badminton

Div 1: 5 wins, 2 losses.   Current placing: 2nd


Mixed Badminton

Div 1: 3 wins, 3 losses.   Current Placing: 4th


Perspectives – Can we trust our Technology?


The third in our College Series: Perspectives was held on Monday night. Despite the inset of summative season the session was well attended, by a range of individuals from both JCR and MCR.

Following an introduction by Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan the three speakers each laid out their point of view on the question of how far we can trust technology. First up was Dr Toby Breckon (Engineering and Computing Sciences), who argued that we could trust technology because it can only do that which it is taught or programmed to do by human designers. He also emphasized the power of consumers to pressure manufacturers to make trustworthy technology, by voting with their wallets.

Dr Toby Breckon speaking to MCR and JCR members in the quad

Next was James Page (School of Government and International Affairs) who talked about the ethics and practicalities of drone warfare, and suggested that they are more accurate than human operated aircrafts.

Dr James Page

Finally Dr Ladan Cockshut (School of Computing, Teesside University) talked about the increase in interest in AI, humanoid robotics, transhumanism in the mainstream media (movies, TV) over the past few decades, and about how our use of social media might change the ways in which we view ourselves, and our relationships with others.

Dr Lagan Cockshut


Attendees then formed groups for discussion before returning to a final overall summary of the thoughts from the evening. One particularly interesting outcome the following day was the discovery of one student that her experiment of leaving Facebook open (with microphone access permissions) on her phone throughout the discussion might well have influenced the advertising she received the following day, with recommendations for AI films appearing on her Facebook.


Chantele Smith – Advancing technology in Barnsley Council

Chantele (St Chad’s 2006-2009) is the ICT Technical Specialist for Barnsley Council and has been instrumental in helping the council move towards the use of apps for many of their HR tasks. The use of technology to assist with payroll processes and leave requests is part of the council’s digital transformation, hoped to reduce costs and decrease processing time, but has faced difficulty with users unfamiliar or uncomfortable with apps.


Chantele will be presenting at the 2016 SAP UK and Ireland user group conference in Birmingham on 20-22 November, speaking about the journey Barnsley Council have taken from paper to app, and exploring her methods for overcoming the obstacles of unfamiliarity and fear of failure amongst users.

Jonathan Douglas – Director of the National Literacy Trust

Jonathan Douglas (St Chad’s 1988-1991) was appointed as the Director of the National Literacy Trust in 2007, having previously been Head of Policy Development at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. In his current role he is responsible for strategic direction, financial management and day-to-day running of the charity, which aims to transform lives through improved literacy. He has also worked in Westminster Libraries in children’s services and as a librarian, as well as having been Professional Adviser for Youth and School Libraries at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Jonathan Douglas
Jonathan is currently on the Advisory Committee of the Man Booker Prize and is Chair of Governors at his local primary school.


In the news recently he has been quoted in support of calls to ring-fence funding for school libraries, made by the Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.

“Recent surveys show that a large number of primary schools with designated library space have seen their budgets reduced and the number of librarians in English schools has fallen significantly. With wider cuts to public library services, the role of school libraries are more crucial than ever, and indeed need to expand to meet the needs of families … and as a welcoming space for the whole school community.”

For more on saving school libraries see the whole Huffington Post article. For more from Jonathan see his HuffPost blog.

Arthur Bostrom – Actor


If you caught this interview exploration of Brian Blessed’s life in radio a few weeks ago you might not have known that the interviewer Arthur Bostrom is a Chadsian.

Arthur (St Chad’s 1974-77) is an actor on both television and stage. Probably best known for his role as Officer Crabtree in ‘Allo ‘Allo, he has also guest starred in a wide variety of TV shows, and audio dramas. He also presented an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Word …of Mouth looking into Double Entendres. His recent stage appearances include Malvolio in Original Theatre Company’s production of Twelfth Night.

*7 days to listen at time of writing*