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We asked our alumni for their memories of Congregation here are some highlights…

Janet Vickers, BA Social Studies, St Aidan’s

This wonderful photograph (above) was taken in the back garden of St Aidan’s College on the Bailey. I am happy to say all the friends in the photograph still keep in touch.

My subject was BA Social Studies, then Dip. Ed during the year when I was Senior Woman of St Aidan’s. I married a post-grad student from Cranmer Hall! He was eventually Bishop of Colchester and I taught in many schools as we moved around the UK.

Ruth Blakeborough, Modern European Languages, Hild Bede

I graduated in 1998 and have three distinct memories of the day. The first was Prince Charles receiving an honorary doctorate the same day – I was only sorry he wasn’t in my particular ceremony. I also remember my parents being especially thrilled that I was receiving my degree from Peter Ustinov who is also grown up watching in films. He was wonderful and I will always remember shaking hands with him.

The final memory was slightly less positive – our ceremony was in the Castle back then but I imagine students still get robed in the offices on Palace Green. Whilst I was washing my hands in the bathroom afterwards a lady told me off quite sternly as I’d apparently worn my gown inside out – she asked if I had graduated like that and said she hoped not. I had of course, but didn’t let on! I hope no one else noticed as I still couldn’t see how she could really tell.

Richard Coe, Maths and Physics, St Cuthbert’s Society

I spent three happy years at Cuths, shared a room in Cathedral Close with Tony Osbourne, breakfast in 12 South Bailey, meals in the (then) new Dunelm. After Congregation, we all went home just like it was another end of term – no sharing of phone numbers or addresses so lost all contact with friends I made.

When I graduated there was no acknowledgment of commercial use of computers, but, after a ‘false’ start training to be a Patent Agent (second-highest starting salary according to careers office leaflet), I ended up helping to build Concorde, then writing mailing software for one of the biggest Direct Mail companies in the UK via a stint writing gas billing software.

Me, after having a haircut to get a job!

Discover more

About Spring Congregation here

Attendance information here

More memories of Congregation here


Janet Vickers, Ruth Blakemore and Richard Coe

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