Category Archives: Alumni News

Returners Weekend 2017

In sleepy Durham nothing much has changed but our graduates have moved on into the big wide world. But for one weekend they had the chance to journey back to Durham for two days of nostalgia, northern chills and necking reasonably priced drinks in the bar.

The bop of Friday saw Chadsians relive their adolescent days with the returners bop theme being childhood TV and film characters. I imagine the Cassidy Quad looked very similar to the CBBC production floor in the late 1990s and early 2000s as we were graced with the likes of Neil Buchanan from Art Attack,  The Chuckle Brothers and all four Teletubbies!

Saturday was steak night for the returners’ on formal before they headed to the Princey B one last time! Apart from one attempt to dive into the river the night went swimmingly and the weekend, as a whole, was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Alumni Choir in Leicester

On the weekend of 21st-22nd October, several of the St Chad’s College Choir Scholars joined the St Chad’s Alumni Choir for a weekend of singing at the prestigious Leicester Cathedral. Although the Scholars were very generously treated to a four-star hotel and a lovely meal, the weekend was no jolly and lots of hard work was achieved!

The student contingent

Having left Durham at 7am in a minibus for Leicester, upon the arrival of the Durham cohort, rehearsals started straight away led by Philip Drew. The repertoire for this weekend was a treat, featuring some great British choral classic such has Howell’s Collegium Regale and Stanford’s Beati Quorum Via. The choir sang two services: Choral Evensong on Saturday and a Eucharist Service on Sunday morning. Both services were a success, especially considering the short rehearsal time that all the members had together. Notably, the choir did very well to get to grips with pesky Psalm from Saturday’s evensong which was extremely long with difficult moments!

The choir felt very welcome at Leicester Cathedral by the staff and by the people of the parish. The whole weekend was highly enjoyable, and I would like to thank the Alumni for asking the scholar’s to join them at their reunion and also thank them for their extreme generosity! 

Catherine Bench

Third year, Music, Choral Scholar

 

Thanks to Philip Drew for directing, to Peter Swift for playing the organ, and to everyone who came and sang, or supported us!

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.”

 

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.

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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.

Returners Weekend (4th-6th November)

This weekend saw the event that everyone’s been waiting for since graduation – Returners! This year, the highly anticipated Returner’s Bop featured interpretations of 90s pop culture including a highly convincing Austin Powers costume, double (and in some cases triple) denim, and some wildly questionable Macarena moves. The evening was a huge success, with vibrant decs and of course, a playlist full of funky fresh tunes.

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Having managed to stumble home, Chadsians past and present woke the following morning, perhaps not as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as desired, but definitely still functioning. However, there was no time for slacking as Saturday was the scene of the Returner’s Formal, followed by Princey B. If the brilliantly cheesy DJ wasn’t enticing enough after a rowdy night in the bar, then the free burgers certainly were!

Sunday came with an undeniably bittersweet taste, as, all too quickly, it was time to say goodbye again. In all seriousness, I hope that you all enjoyed this weekend as much as I did. If nothing else, I’m sure you can take away another cache of memories to look back on and laugh at for years to come. At the end of the day, that’s what Chad’s is all about.

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Arthur Bostrom – Actor

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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*

 

Richard Taylor – Archivist and Author

 

Richard Taylor (St Chad’s 1982-85) has recently published his book “Edward Johnston: A Signature for London” on the relationship between Edward Johnston, the creator of London’s iconic font and Transport for London.

Johnston Typeface is seen, in an adapted form, on Tube trains, station signs, buses, posters, leaflets and maps and is considered symbollic of London. It celebrates its 100th birthday this year.

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Upon completion of his History degree Richard Taylor trained as an archivist and has set up archive departments for both London Transport and Railtrack plc (forerunner to Network Rail). He has worked as the Senior Curator at the National Railway Museum and as the City Archivist for York before working on the “Johnston Journeys” project for the London Transport Museum which culminated in this book. He is currently researching James Staats Forbes, a Victorian Railway Magnate.

“A Signature for London” can be found for sale through the London Transport Museum Online Shop and Amazon

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Tim FitzHigham – Comedian and world record holder

Tim FitzHigham, award-winning comedian and Chadsian (1994-1997), is on tour with his show about Will Kempe, Shakespeare’s best known comic actor -dates and locations on his website here.

Tim is both a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce. He is an award-winning comedian, author, artist and a world record holder. The feats he has performed include paddling a paper boat down 160 miles of the River Thames, rowing a bathtub across the English Channel, and inflating the world’s largest man-inflated balloon. In between these feats he has had several very successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has toured the UK and Australia both solo and with groups.

For more about Will Kempe (from Tim) see below: