28 April 2020
Ten past alumni reunions
We shine the spotlight on ten past alumni reunions.
KCL/LSE Joint School of Geography Reunion, Class of 1968
Fifty years seemed a long time, and worthy of note, so once a small group had decided we should mark the event, the emails grew and flew around the world.
Twelve former geographers met on 10 May, with several partners, for afternoon tea at the Wellcome Kitchen to celebrate 50 years since we graduated. We chose tea because there were no overheads, and it was much easier to circulate and chat over sandwiches, scones and cakes than during a more formal meal, plus we could remain flexible on numbers up to the last minute. We had previously met for our 25th anniversary, but only small gatherings had happened since then, and our connections were slender. However, one person led to another, and we eventually made contact with 30 graduates in all, scattered around the world, and gathered brief information on a dozen others. Most of us are now keen to keep in touch and gather when a suitable excuse arises, for example when our overseas colleagues make return visits to the UK.
Is there something in our geographical DNA that has encouraged many of us to travel widely, or take up residence abroad, temporarily or on a more stable basis? We weren’t going to let our scattered fellow geographers who were unable to join our London gathering, disappear into the ether. So everyone was asked to contribute a résumé of their careers, and a few photos. Thirty obliged. The resulting compilations was circulated around all contributors and made fascinating reading. While the nucleus within reach of London were able to meet and share memories and pour over old photos, we had greetings from Wales and Scotland, France, Italy and Israel, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.
As we might have expected among those thirty, there were a number of teachers, lecturers, researchers, a couple of head teachers, a number of planners and a planning inspector. Several had gained doctorates, and at least one had a gong. Sadly two had died. Others had worked in local government, the civil service in the UK and Australia, land and environmental management, palynology (study of pollen) and mapping for the defence industry. At least two had gone into the church, two more into charity fundraising. Gardening and garden design was popular, and we had among us company directors, a banker, a pilot, one person who had worked in regeneration/construction, another in the rail industry, others in publishing, counselling, art, music and restaurant management, textile imports, and the teaching of yoga. Four had experimented with a commune in the ‘good life’ style.
Our thanks must go in particular to Pat Holding (née Morehouse) without whose determination the project would not have developed to the extent it did, and to many who helped foster connections, especially Dick Lister working on the LSE contingent, and to Jancis Ford in Canada who determinedly put names to the faces in our JSS group photos from 1966 and 1967. Had we changed that much?
Carol Hicks (née Fludder)
La Grande Reunion De La Classe Francaise De 1967
After many months of planning 11 members of the BA French Honours Class of 1967 reassembled at Le Beaujolais restaurant in Central London on 29 July to enjoy an excellent dinner and reunion. Those present were Liz Batterley (née Barlow), Evelyn Bosio (née Freeth), Carol Bully (née Swindells), Michael “Mick” Davis, Malcolm Field, Sue Harrison (née Pearce), Tony & Liz Potbury (née Jones), Ray Savage, David West and Anthony (Tony) Wills, plus five guests. Several people had made the trip from France, so it was a bilingual affair.
Jill Board (née Crosher), Christine Buisson (née Blair), Sue George (née Smith), Richard Samways, Ruth Haywood (née Southeard) and Brian Stimpson had all sent their apologies.
Prior to meeting at the restaurant a few of us visited Somerset House (which was a car park in our day) and as much of King’s as we could, including having our photo taken with Reggie the Lion! Those who had not been back since graduation were rather startled by the main reception block on the Strand, which was added in the early 1970s. French is now located alongside the other language departments in the Virginia Woolf Building at 22 Kingsway, a somewhat less prestigious venue than the third floor of the Strand building’s South Wing overlooking the Thames (now occupied by the Music Department).
There was no traffic on the Strand due to the Prudential Cycle Race, so we were able to walk from King’s (in the pouring rain) through the Covent Garden piazza via Bedfordbury and St Martins Lane to the restaurant, which is situated close to The Ivy.
Everyone had been asked to prepare two blogs, firstly about the year they spent in France as teaching assistants (this was the third year in a four year course) and the second covering “50 years since King’s in two minutes”! The wine had flowed freely before these were delivered, so the atmosphere was convivial, to say the least! Huge thanks are due to the organisers Tony and Malcolm for bringing us back together.
Dentists return to UK for 50th anniversary
Alumni from King’s College Hospital Dental School (now the Dental Institute) gathered for the 50th anniversary of their graduation at the beautiful Horsted Place Hotel near Lewes, East Sussex. The three-day gathering, organised by Dr John Wolffe (Dentistry, 1966) and his wife Linda, was attended by 14 graduates from the class of 1966-67 and their spouses. Thanks to the significance of the anniversary, some travelled from as far away as France, Hong Kong and New Zealand to be there.
Conversation, laughter and the sharing of memories quickly ensued. The group enjoyed the first day having cream teas and playing croquet on the lawn. At dinner the group viewed an amateur film, featuring many respected King’s teachers, made from forty-year-old archive footage by the late Dr Edwin Rosenstiel, who taught Conservative Dentistry at King’s for many years. The next day the group enjoyed a ploughman’s lunch and a trip to the Bluebell Railway and Museum. Events concluded with a gala dinner dance with live music, when Dr Brian Williams delivered a heartfelt toast to absent and lost friends.
John said, ‘It was a wonderful couple of days and we have agreed to gather again in another few years.’
50th Anniversary Celebration for St Thomas’ Hospital Medicine Graduates
On 19 April 2012 a dinner was held at the Dormy House Hotel in Broadway, Worcestershire for 35 doctors who graduated in medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1962, and 30 spouses/partners.
This was a joyful occasion which included time beforehand for greeting old friends, with drinks, and then a dinner chaired by Mike Willoughby. Jill Mann welcomed everyone, with special greetings for five colleagues who came from overseas: Dr Jennifer Ashby (née MacGregor) and Mr Michael Mayo from the USA, Mr Richard Hartley from Australia, Mr James Nwozo from Nigeriaand Dr Izabella E Horsfall (née Dunajecka) from the Bahamas.
Professor Hugh Pennington gave the address, with many reminiscences of the Medical School and St Thomas’ Hospital and of the more colourful members of staff who taught us. He also proposed the loyal toast, after which Dr Tim Apthorpe remembered and gave a toast to absent friends. After a vote of thanks to the staff for an outstanding gourmet meal, the evening continued with extracts from a recording of the St Thomas’ Christmas Show of 1959 in which many of those present perfomed or worked behind the scenes. We talked late into the night and enjoyed a display of STH memorabilia which had been assembled.
Everyone spent the night at the hotel and after breakfast many explored some of the interesting gardens and other places of interest in this beautiful part of England. One group went on a private conducted tour of the lovely Jacobean/Elizabethan manor, Stanway House and its Norman Tithe Barn and gardens. The property has the highest gravity powered waterfall in the world and this was turned on for us.
Many people then returned to their homes, but some stayed on for a few more days so that they could enjoy the area and spend time with friends.
Professor Jillian R Mann and Dr J Michael Willoughby
Guy's Dentists 1959 reunion
The Oriental Club is regarded as a haven of calm to the east of Belgravia. There was precious little evidence of calm amongst the hubbub of 45 chattering Guy’s dental graduates who met at the Club on 6th November 2009 to celebrate 50 post-graduate years. 'What have you been doing since the last reunion 10 years ago?'; 'Are you still in practice?'; 'Whatever happened to old so-and-so?'
It was such a pleasure to renew old acquaintance and reminisce about fondly remembered teachers (Dean Warner; Mr Robinson; Prof Anderson) and the introduction, while we were students, of remarkable developments such as the airotor. 'How things have changed!' was heard many times.
The gossip continued over a splendid roast beef lunch, now in the company of 15 spouses to add a touch of sophistication to the proceedings. We caught up with news of old friends: George Read Ward, our Master of Ceremonies and indefatigable organiser of the event, Keith Isaacson, still lecturing and publishing (5th book just out), Ken Robertson, hand on the sculptor’s chisel rather than the dental probe, Bill Wiseman, well-travelled cruise-line enthusiast, and so many others.
Adding to the occasion, Roger Watson exhibited an amazing collection of poster size pictures evoking memories of a youthful year on ward rounds and working in the old Conservation Room with what is now classified as antique equipment.
The following morning Geoff Keeble escorted fourteen of the group on a visit to HMS Belfast the WW2 cruiser moored on the Thames within a mile of Guy’s. As a result of his considerable naval dental experience he had been asked to re-assemble the dental clinic on board with the collection of equipment from the 40/50s era. Fascinating, but a jolt, when one remembered being trained on such antiques!
It was such a successful event that afterwards the euphoria carried us out into the street making plans for the 55th anniversary. Let’s hope that reality does not intrude!
Michael Ford (Guy's, Dentistry, 1960)
Singapore alumni drinks
On Friday 23 October 2009, alumni based in Singapore gathered together for drinks at the J-Bar, M Hotel, Anson Road, Singapore.
Branch president, Stephen Lee, (Aquatic Resource Management, 1972) commented: 'after two 'towers' of beer, the gathering went very well and the fellowship was very cordial!'
The talking points were wide and varied, and we did touch on how to encourage more alumni to join the Singapore alumni society (KCLASS). The party ended at 10 pm and all attendees were tested 'fit' to drive home!" Stephen made sure of that!
Nursing 1987 Reunion
It was 17 June 2017, the hottest weekend of the year so far, and exactly 30 years, 1 month and 1 week after we all started as student nurses at Guy’s & Lewisham School of Nursing.
One by one we congregated in what would be one of our favourite watering holes, The George, which is a handy stone’s throw away from Guy’s. The courtyard was full of tables and parasols, which wasn’t how we left it all those years ago, and Borough High Street had become one of the trendy parts of the area, with Borough Market (only recently re-opened after the terrorists attack) being totally unrecognisable, and The Shard – wow!
Our reunion day began with the customary whetting of the whistle (don’t forget, it was the hottest day of the year so far), and it allowed us to arrive and catch up at our own pace. Out of the original 27 student who started in the May 1987 set, we whittled down to an incredible 18 who actually finished the course. Unfortunately, 3 members of our set couldn’t be tracked down, and 3 couldn’t be with us, but sent updates of their lives. Chatting excitedly, we tried to cram in all our news from over the years, as we all arrived, by train, plane and bus. Slowly we moved inside to carry on over a sumptuous lunch (thanks to Lorna and her team)and a fabulous slide show of old photographs, prepared by our lovely Annie, which allowed our memories to flood back, and be jogged, in techni-colour 2D. In our minds, we looked the same, and it felt like we had only been away from each other, for a few weeks holiday, during our course.
Suddenly, at 3pm we rushed over to New Guy’s Tower, where we were greeted by Head of Nursing, Liz Dunn, who had kindly volunteered to show us around the Guy’s we knew, and introduce us to the Guy’s we didn’t. New Hunts House, New Guy’s Tower, The Robens Suite with memories of graduation, and finally, our first NHS home - Henrietta Raphael. Like dizzy school kids, we whizzed our old residence reminiscing bygone jaunts, corridor parties and dinners, and tried to locate our old rooms. Time stood still, but in the same moment everything had changed, moved on. The new Cancer Centre terminated our re-acquaintance with our old campus, and is a testament to how things must progress.
Our time together gradually drew to close, although some of us continued to reminisce into the night. Together we have covered and worked in many countries and continents across the globe. Some of us specialised in various branches of nursing, some in management, and a few never returning to nursing, however, whatever we are doing, I feel a great sense of pride, privilege and friendship to be part of this, my first NHS family.
1982 Nightingale Nurses Reunion
One bleak, overcast and wet Saturday in November, 36 Nightingale nurses descended into a small village hall in Cobham,Surrey. It was almost 30 years ago to the day that we all had gathered as enthusiastic 18-22-year olds in the lobby of Gassiot House with our suitcases and parents in tow. It was the start of our 3year RGN training during which time lifelong friendships would be formed.
With the date of 10th November 2012 set and venue booked,18 months of planning began. Based on a list of all our names in tutorial groups that I had found in my garage (of all places), I undertook the task of contact tracing everyone. I emailed, googled, tweeted and face booked - managing to trace nearly 44 (out of a potential 56). With the date set so far in advance, even some of those living abroad were able to plan and attend. Apologies were sent by a few and some of us were never actually traced, despite the help of the Nightingale Fellowship. Sadly Nicky Briscoe had died a few years previously, but was remembered by us all on the day and in the photos that were sent.
A Facebook events page was set up where all our photos were uploaded and downloaded. A slideshow was made for the day (with the help of my children) and the music from the eighties era was made into a ‘iParty Tape’ by Tracey Barr, with strict instructions from her daughter not to ‘Shuffle or Sync’!
An event to remember
Colourful bunting, tablecloths and flowers on the tables decorated the hall. Everyone bought either a dish of food or drink - a delicious selection of hot/cold dishes and desserts to envy. Yes. we had proved to be domestic goddesses after all those student years! Student nurse name badges were worn by those who could find them and if not, a sticky name label - just to jog our memories to names and faces we hadn’t seen for the last three decades. None of us had changed very much - our personalities certainly hadn’t!
The alcohol flowed (two units only) and there was non-stop chatting and laughter from midday until 8pm. The hours flew by just like the years. Taking control and ably assisted by Phillipa Barker, a group photo was taken outside - a difficult task getting us all looking at the camera at the same time.
'We'd all come so far'
We were so delighted to be joined for part of the day by Sue Tatham - one of the five tutors for our set. Thankfully she had seen an advert in the journal just before the date. Jack de Gruiter and Eithne O’Connell sent their apologies and were keen to be updated on the event. Sue was able to tell us a little of Jacinta Kow’s work in Africa and the address of her Convent in London where she was now back training as a counsellor to help those affected by human trafficking.
Since that November day in 1982 at Gassiot House, we had all come so far in our nursing professions. Most of us had kept up our registration and were practising in the acute secondary or primary setting, some achieving managerial posts, others in further education (deans of facilities),or working as volunteers for charities. In particular congratulations to Gerry Cousins who achieved her life-long ambition and had just qualified as a junior doctor. Some of us were posted abroad in the USA, Canada, Singapore, France and Moscow with our husbands and families. The distances travelled on the day were truly amazing.
Keeping in touch
After a group ‘clean up’ effort and returning the hall to a sense of normality, it was certainly sad to have to say all our goodbyes and watch everyone disappear into the dark Surrey night. We are all staying in touch through the social media websites, keeping up to date with each other’s news and photos of families. The power of the worldwide web is truly amazing and has bought us all back together again.
On a final note, a cheque was sent gift aided to ‘The Nightingale Fellowship Benevolent Fund for £180 - the profit made through everyone’s small contribution to the costs of the day. A member of our set has since commented that she has received an educational grant in the past from the Esmond Bequest Fund towards the cost of a travel health course. So, as well as for our own enjoyment, there was a charitable meaning to the day.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of any of our lost members or tutors from our set, please ask them to contact me on email@example.com.
KCSMD 20 Year Reunion - September 2016
The alumni of King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, who graduated between 1994 and 1997, came together for a unique reunion in London on 10th September 2016.
We started with tours of the Strand campus during the day. It was quite the walk down memory lane. The campus was open and hosting an open day for A’ level students which made us all feel even older! We had a great time looking around the Main Hall, Chapel, Student Union building and the basement lecture theatre – all much as we remember them. The old anatomy dissection room was a different matter, though, as now it is filled with desks for postgraduate students instead of dissection tables. We had a quiz for the younger members of the tour which was pretty tough but they did great.
In the evening we hosted a champagne reception and black tie dinner and dance at the OXO2 event venue, situated on the opposite bank of the Thames looking over to King’s College. The venue is an iconic building in a spectacular location on the vibrant South Bank and provided modern facilities in the heritage setting. We were well looked after by the catering and security team making the premium price well worth the investment.
We sold 101 tickets for the evening event and 39 for the daytime campus tour. We welcomed a total of 115 alumni.
Our event wouldn’t have been possible without the following support:
Volunteers from the alumni, who were willing to phone around for sponsors, raffle prizes and medical school colleagues contact details.
Social media for spreading the word and building the list of alumni we could communicate with.
Our sponsors, who made the whole thing financially viable, the largest sponsor being secured by an alumnus who now works for the parent company of Travelbag and lives overseas. Sadly, he wasn’t able to come to the event due to work commitments.
A core group of alumni who formed the organising committee, even creating formal rules and regulations, etc. to qualify for a community bank account so that ticket payments and sponsorship could be handled properly. One of the committee very generously advanced us the deposit for the venue and was refunded after the event.
Eventbrite ticketing website, which made purchasing tickets accessible to all, secure, and even sent regular instalments of ticket sale income in advance of the event, allowing us to pay the balance of the event venue on time.
KCL Alumni team and archive team plus the self-guided tours from the website.
Two alumni who took great photos during the evening.
Our sponsors had their logos on the tickets, were featured on the social media group (Facebook), and were publicised at the event itself via flyers and posters. We acknowledge them with great thanks:
Janus Financial Services
Wesleyan Financial Services
We held a raffle during the evening event to raise further funds and the majority of this has now been donated to the King’s charity with a request that it be divided equally between medical research and the student hardship fund. The prizes were donated by alumni and others including the Vaccines band, Dr Phil Hammond and the KCL shop.
“Then & Now” posters for each year with our photos and a short description of what we are up to these days went down very well. It was great to learn about the wide variety of areas and locations in which friends and acquaintances are now working and also helped with recognising people after 20 years!
The event was a huge success and we received lots of positive feedback and thanks from fellow alumni. It was a huge amount of work - meticulous and dedicated organisation was key! If anyone else is thinking of doing something like this, we would thoroughly recommend it on the proviso that there is a body of committed organisers with lots of time on their hands. We are happy to pass on any tips…
Emma, Meg, Mark, Zoë and Hannah
Delhi Alumni Gathering
The first official meeting of the King's Alumni Branch in Delhi took place on 28 November 2009. The evening was kindly hosted by Mr Sonal Kumar Singh (Law, 2007) who provided food and drinks for all in attendance.
The evening also played host to two King's staff, Ms Kelly McDonnell and Mr Christopher Payne, from the College's International Marketing Team. They were in the region to promote studying at King's and organised an 'employability' event, highlighting how a qualification from the College can have big career benefits.
The evening provoked much lively discussion regarding future events and activities. All those wishing to get involved would be most welcome and should contact Sonal.