Tag Archives: Front-Page

Chad’s students arrive at St Matthew’s Keiskammahoek

From Issy Davies:

People milled about on the street and propped themselves up on the ground by the road as we passed in convoy with Tim. Feeling immediately conspicuous under their stares I cast around looking for signs of St Matthews school, where we were to work for the next 5 weeks. Keiskammahoek appears to be a street of shabby houses. Glance closer and you’ll see three or four of these run down places are home to small shops, glance closer and you won’t see much else – the town is little more to you or I than a tank of watery petrol and a nasty puncture. With no warning the road became dust and we bounced into the low hills which are home to about 10,000 people. In between apologising profusely to our little Fiat as we crested another hill and jolted straight into another pothole, I realised that if I were to send us careering off a dusty precipice it wouldn’t be a bad view to enjoy in one’s last few seconds. Better than an Economist strewn, rapidly advancing London pavement. The rolling pastures are gorged by a stream and low trees, frequented by roaming cattle, and hyperactive children. The slopes feature scattered concrete homes arbitrarily painted pink, orange, yellow, turquoise, or white and swirling with goats, cows, stray dogs, babies, and the odd person. The dust from our tyres adds a warm haze to it all. The houses begin to draw closer to the road and every other one looks gutted. The trees get bigger and more imposing – a sign of an old colonial area – and blue pinafored girls linger everywhere. We’d arrived at St Matthews. Down we trundled to our house in the teachers’ village and leapt out of the car to unbend ourselves. Our house is bloody marvellous. All due to The Calibar foundation and Sifunda Kunye, which is a charity focused on investing in historic African education centres and St Matthews has the good fortune of being a former missionary school, harkening back to 1853, which means our house was freshly renovated and fully stocked with everything a girl could dream of. Sifunda Kunye are also the outfit behind the computer labs not only at St Matthews but at Good Shepherd, the primary school we worked at in Grahamstown. Anyway, the rest of the complex was not in such good repair. Huge teaching blocks had been abandoned and pillaged. One grand building, with Victorian style high ceilings and Art Deco window frames for Christ’s sake, was roofless and the doors were blocked up with hundreds of textbooks, of all things. Horses, pigs, and cows kept the grass a neat level however and the main part of the school was razor-wire barbed-wire high-fenced in and looked pretty spotless. Back at la casa we moved in just as the sun was setting, tired, excited, and absolutely clueless as to how our first day at a new school would shape up.

Christian astronomer (and Chad’s alumna and PG student) shortlisted for one-way Mars trip

Hannah Earnshaw
Hannah Earnshaw

An astrophysics PhD student, currently on a 100-person shortlist to make a one-way trip to Mars, will speak at God and the Big Bang this week (Thu 14 July).

The day-long conference for sixth formers at St Augustine’s CE High School, Kilburn, London, explores the relationship between science and faith.

Hannah Earnshaw, 24, said: “As a Christian and an astronomer, science for me is about discovering and learning about God’s vast creation, so I am looking forward to communicating how science and faith is not only compatible but intertwined.

Read more HERE

St Chad’s Students in South Africa


Kids (and Chad’s volunteers) in the Sifunda Kunye computer lab at Good Shepherd primary school, Grahamstown

Issy Davies writes: South Africa isn’t everything you’d imagine it to be. It is home to epic landscapes, diverse culture, and absurd experiences but although there is a tangible racial divide, I haven’t been hearing gun shots in the night or been mugged yet, despite what my friends and family had predicted. In fact, walking the streets of Grahamstown is a tumble of colour and greetings. The Good Shepherd school where we worked in the first week is well equipped with a computer lab and although these kids live hard lives in the township I found myself completely eclipsed by their long division skills which completely put me to shame. The uber relaxed atmosphere of this primary school didn’t prepare us for the tense first day we had at Ntsika and Nombulelo secondary schools in the township…

Read more (with more photos) HERE

University Congregation. Summer 2016

2016 Finallists2

St Chad’s College is proud of our 111 undergraduate finalists who received their degrees this week during University Congregation.  36 Chadsians received 1st Class degrees.  Many of our Postgraduate students also received their Masters and Doctoral degrees during the ceremonies which took place in Durham Cathedral from Tuesday 28th June until Friday 1st July.  Degrees were conferred by the Chancellor, Sir Thomas Allen, and the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge.  Members of St Chad’s College staff and SCR also took part in the ceremonies to support another graduating year of Chadsians.

The week began with Graduands’ Formal in  College on Monday.  This is both a celebratory time and a sad time.  Celebratory for obvious reasons, we laud the success of our students  – and also sad because this week can seem like an ending. But this week is actually a beginning.  Our graduates now begin the rest of their lives, taking with them all that St Chad’s and Durham have done for them, and all that St Chad’s and Durham have taught them.

We are proud of our new alumni and we hope that they will continue to be proud of their College, St Chad’s, and proud to call themselves Chadsians.

St Chad’s Choir tours Amsterdam

From 15th – 20th June, our College choir went on tour to Amsterdam, the beautiful capital city of The Netherlands. Following the overnight ferry crossing and some initial sightseeing, it was time to depart for Sint Nicolaaskerk in the picturesque town of Edam for our first concert.

Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum (and its famous sign) was a popular destination when our choir weren't singing
Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum (and its famous sign) was a popular destination when our choir weren’t singing

Our concert programme was centred around Vierne’s haunting and powerful Messe Solennelle, and was interspersed with other choir favourites, including Bruckner’s  Locus Iste and Christus Factus Est; Byrd’s setting of the Ave Verum Corpus and Ireland’s moving Greater Love Hath No Man. Our concerts also featured organ recitals from our Organist Dr. Peter Swift and Director of Music Roger Muttitt. We also featured a violin solo from second year choral scholar and Music student Emma Coombs.

The Catholic Church in Edam was packed for the evening concert, and Vierne’s Agnus Dei moved one member of the congregation to tears, which was incredibly touching to hear. However, there was considerable debate over whether they were tears resulting from the beautiful music, or the slight mishap of our baritone soloist interrupting the soprano solo during Greater Love. We hope that it was the former! One tiny hiccough, nonetheless, did not  stop our choir receiving a hearty round of applause and standing ovation at the conclusion of the concert.

The following day saw a second concert, this time at the English Reformed Church in central Amsterdam. After an extended lunch break for sightseeing, we assembled outside the Royal Concertgebouw. This is one of the most famous concert halls in the world and it is home to one of the greatest orchestras in the world. We were given the privilege of taking to the main stage for a choir rehearsal. It was quite an honour to stand upon the stage that has played host to classical music giants Riccardo Chailly and Mariss Jansons.

Rehearsing in the Royal Concertgebouw
Rehearsing in the Royal Concertgebouw

Our final destination on tour was the Gothic Oude Kerk in Delft. It is a town renowned for its ceramics and the Dutch Golden Age painter Vermeer, who is buried inside the Church. The echo and reverberation inside this building was incredible, and it reinforced and complemented Aston’s contemporary piece Alleluia Psallat. It is notoriously difficult to sing, but we managed to pull it off! The acoustics also accentuated our violinist Emma Coombs’ stunning rendition of Elgar’s Chanson de Matin. The choir were once again received with a rapturous round of applause and standing ovation, and it brought to an end another incredibly successful choir tour.

Another image of the stunning Rijksmuseum
Another image of the stunning Rijksmuseum

The tour to Amsterdam also heralded the end of another successful year for St. Chad’s Chapel Choir, and we look forward to welcoming new members from all of Durham University’s colleges when the new academic year commences in October.

Photography courtesy of Naomi Ireland-Jones, who has recently graduated with a First Class degree in Archaeology and Anthropology. She has sung with our college choir for three years and will be sorely missed!


Tea Party with Age UK


The glimmering, sun lit afternoon of Monday, the 20th of June, saw the Quad hung with bunting, set up with small intimate tables and laid out with a delightful assortment of homemade cakes and refreshment. All was set up in preparation for the Tea Party with Age UK. It was a gathering not only to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, but also to bring together Chadsians and members of Age UK.

Tables laid out with dessert. Special thanks to the kitchen staff and students who baked beautiful and scrumptious cakes.

Throughout the afternoon, Chadsians and elderly members of Durham mingled over dessert and coffee, enjoyed resonating Welsh vocals of Dewi and jazzy instrumentals by the Chazz band, and worked in teams to partake in a light quiz.

Enjoying the performance by our very own Chazz Band


13490706_605491322947407_2549358854793750105_oThis year Charities Committee are placing great focus on extending Outreach Projects to provide volunteering opportunities across the local community for members of the college. The tea party is a kick start to one of these projects with Age UK, a charity that provides services to promote the wellbeing of people in later life. A big thank you to bakers, performers, and, most of all, the Charities Committee Outreach Officer, Katie, who worked hard to ensure that the Tea Party was a well planned and well attended success.

Katie, the Outreach Officer, with some members of Age UK
Katie, the Outreach Officer, with some members of Age UK

Feminism Society’s visit to St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School

13518044_10155072599058902_777530142_oTuesday 21st June saw a group of Fem Soc members travel to an all boys secondary school in Newcastle to discuss the topic of feminism with a group of students. The aim wasn’t to try and convert the boys of St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School into becoming feminists, but rather to encourage them to see beyond the common misconceptions and stereotypes.

Through in depth consideration and debate, exploring the ways in which feminism promotes the equality of sexes, something that is often overlooked or not fully understood. The boys presented strong arguments for their views and the level of engagement allowed a complex range of topics and issues, including the pay gap and social media pressures, to be considered. The group were very impressed with the students, and hope that they enjoyed the discussion as much as the team did.

Thank you again to Beth and St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School for inviting us.13499528_10155072599068902_1799468600_o

St Chad’s Annual Garden Party, Sunday 19th June

The day dawned for the annual St Chad’s garden party on Sunday 19th June and, in typical British fashion, the sun didn’t make an appearance for much of the day. Nevertheless, spirits were high as people gathered on blankets with friends for one of the penultimate social events before summer.

The BBQ was eagerly anticipated; washed down with lemonade and Pimms. St. Chad’s own theatre company, Green Door, performed a play entitled: ‘All’s Well That Ends As You like It’ by Michael Green, a comedic take on Shakespeare which was very popular with the audience.
GP 3
gp 6
Musical interludes by Chadsians of various years contrasted greatly with the screams of the Exec who were being pelted with wet sponges by the paying audience. Twists on traditional games such as ‘Pin the tail on the goat’ and cake sales were used to raise money for the charity of the term, Forward.
GP 4
Social Secretary, Polly Jacobs, Bar and Charity Committees did a fabulous job of organising a day filled with fun, music and games- a winning combination.
For me, this was a perfect end to a truly wonderful first-year in the beautiful St Chad’s and I’m looking forward to next year.
GP 1

Chad’s-John’s Day 2016

Chad’s-John’s Day was a further proof, after a historic victory last year, how much our sporting prowess, dedication and spirit outranks that of John’s.

The day started out a bit unsteady, with losses in Chess, Rounders, Frisbee and Hockey, but Chad’s soon began to pick up the pace by smashing them across the board in basketball and football, with other key wins in Table Tennis, Netball, Croquet, Volleyball and Athletics, helping us secure a lead.

There was a great turnout of supporters at Mixed Lacrosse, which no doubt helped the team power to victory.

Bean Sampson, Alex Lavelle and Emily Sambrook-Smith then went straight off the rubber crumb and onto the track to beat all three John’s girls at both the 100 and the 4 x 100. The 4 x 100 boys also won by a large margin without having ever raced together before.

At the very end of the day it was still tight, but the Pool team pulled through and got us our last big win to ensure that John’s couldn’t use their Summer Ball the day before as an excuse for losing substantially, 9-13 to Chads with 3 draws.

Special mentions must go to Will Wright and Alex Lavelle, whose consistent dedication to Chad’s sport led to their being awarded Sportsman and Sportswoman of the day. Well done everyone!

chads hjohnschads johns trophy



Sed Vos Lindisfarne Trip

Lindisfarne Castle

Friday, the 10th of June, saw the students of St Chad’s descend upon the beautiful island of Lindisfarne for a great day of fun and exploration. Run by Chaplain Ashley Wilson and Sed Vos, the trip was a greatly appreciated escape from the Durham bubble. Misty and dull weather did not halt the enthusiasm to explore Holy Island and it only added to the mysterious atmosphere.

Walled Garden Lindisfarne
Walled Garden

Lindisfarne castle, architecturally very different from a traditional castle, sits proudly upon a hilltop ready to be discovered. Inside we found a ship room, historic kitchen and majestic views across the causeway, towards Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne village. The walled garden was designed by Gertrude Jekyll, a pioneering female horticulturist was also something to behold.

After a much needed ice-cream stop, we came across the Priory. These magnificent ruins are the last vestiges of a holy place built 1,400 years ago, once the home of St Cuthbert; thus they hold great significance for Durham students, in terms of both history and religion.

The Priory
The ruins of Lindisfarne Priory

Personally, Lindisfarne is one of my favourite places to visit; fond memories of past family holidays are now intertwined with new memories of a great day spent with fellow Chadsians.