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RNC's success and the people
who made it possible
Former student, Ian Hodgkinson, supplied this wonderful photograph of a College group from the early 1960s. He was the singer. The photo was taken in the Oak Hall at Albrighton Hall.

Pictured left to right are: Bill Birchall (lead guitar), Ian Hodgkinson (vocalist), Keith Goldson (rhythm guitar), Tony McCaldron (drummer), John McManus (bass guitar).
Ian went on to say:


"The group supported The Animals at the Music Hall in Shrewsbury and they allowed us to use their equipment. About a week later, Dr Langdon [Principal] received a parcel and they had sent us a Vox AC30 amplifier.

When Keith, John and Tony left, Bill and myself were joined by Alan Gray (drums), Alan Mackay (rhythm guitar) and Lindsey Walker (bass)."


I haven't worked at the College for very long but one of my fond memories of recent times is when former student, Kelsey, along with guide dog Lacey, was welcomed back to RNC after taking part in the gruelling Rickshaw Challenge for Children in Need. The two short videos show the welcome he received and the interview he gave to Matt Healey from Your Herefordshire.

Angie Cheasley (Staff 2019-present)

"I studied at RNC from 2008-2011 where I got 4 A Levels. I went to the University of Leicester, got a 2:1 Politics degree and I'm now a professional musician (Director of Music at St Thomas' Church, Kensal Town). I could never have done that without the fantastic support of this College. I still miss being part of the College, think of you often and have so much to thank you for in terms of what I have now gone on to achieve."

Stephen Anderson (Student 2008-2011)
"I was at RNC between 2006 and 2010 and took part in academic and vocational courses alongside using the great sport facilities - they were built while I was studying there. RNC were only just starting the Sports Academy as I was leaving, but I've heard great things and know a number of people that have benefited greatly from it. RNC gave me a huge opportunity to learn and grow and not just academically. The staff have had a huge influence in my life and I've never looked back and thought I shouldn't have gone. Their dedication and commitment to providing education to the visually impaired is truly inspiring. I would recommend them to anyone."

David Knowles MSc MBCS (Student 2006-2010)
"Would come back in a heartbeat. Such an amazing place with great facilities and staff! Do not regret my two years there one bit. If you're thinking about studying there and are visually impaired this is the place to go, for sure!"

Alex Ramzan (Student)

"RNC was instrumental in getting me to where I am today at the University of Oxford. Every visually impaired young person should have access to the opportunities offered here, to achieve their full potential. For many it's a fight but a worthwhile one, I promise."

Kelsey Trevett (Student 2018-2020)
Tiri remembers hanging out with great friends. Tiri is pictured here standing with friend Emily Swinley outside Stephens Hall. Darby the guide dog joins the photo in-between them.

Tiri Hughes (Student 2015-2018)

"Too many great memories to pick one! Great students, great staff!! Happy 150th anniversary everyone!!"

Lukasz Kowalski-Davies (Staff) 

"I worked at RNC as a cleaner, cleaning student rooms. I left six years ago. I met some amazing students along the way. I watched Orchard Hall and thePoint4 being built and Gardner Hall being done out as a hotel for the football squad and guests from outside. I enjoyed my time there and we had a great team of cleaners."

Tracy Burnham (Staff)

"My Aunty went to the College when it was still in Shropshire, she has very fond memories of the place."

Tad Allan R. Jones 
"Attending RNC has been the best thing that has happened to me. I was able to obtain my BTEC Level 3 in Braille Transcription, which has helped me to start my own business. It was also a privilege to work  with an excellent Braille team, who taught me how to use a Braille embosser and other Braille transcription software."

Isobel Calladine (Student 2008-2009)

"Plenty of fond memories of College and thank you for teaching me bits and pieces like train travel. That was a big leap forward for me. I made plenty of friends and plenty of memories."

John Phillip Haill (Student)
"Going to RNC allowed me to go on and become the independent person I am now."

Lucy Owen (Student)

"Attending RNC was the best thing that happened to me in my life both as a younger learner and SES learner, brilliant staff and brilliant social activities. The one memory I do have of RNC is when I was on the SES programme being able to get a job at the end of it but, unfortunately, that came to an end suddenly when Coronavirus hit, and the other memories I have are going to France with the College and also visiting Auschwitz."

Emma Gaylard (Student)
"It was such an experience to go to RNC. I still count it as one of my greatest finds when I found the spiral staircase down by the Maths Department that, if used, would have led up to one of the Business Studies rooms. I swear they didn't even have the blueprints with it on. It had been forgotten about for that long."

Jag Foskett (Student)

"I was so privileged to be a student at the College in 1972 so was there for the centenary when the College was at Rowton Castle, Shrewsbury. I spent a very happy four years there."

Anne Wilkins (Student 1968-1972)
"I still have newspaper articles/pics from the Queen's visit as I did a back massage in front of the queen and Prince Philip."

Miriam Holdstock (Student)

"I was fortunate to work at RNC, when they came to Hereford. I worked for the Teachers College first and applied for a cleaning job and was interviewed by lovely Mike Robins, the best boss ever. I worked my way up to Hotel Manager, again interviewed by Mike. Met a lot of lovely staff, students and visitors including Prince Charles, The Queen and Anna Neagle."

Glo Pugh (Staff)
"I was a student at RNC at Rowton Castle from September 1975 until July 1977. I did RSA typing as well as A Level English and A Level Geography. My favourite memory was the 24 hour five-a-side football marathon we did over the weekend of 4 July 1976 and the money we raised for charity. Also the pirate radio station we had in College that entertained students. It was bug, a couple of hours each night. But it was fun. I also remember the disco nights we had in the bar. All good fun."

Brian Winter (Student 1975-1977)

"Having been involved with RNC for approx 20 years I have met some amazing students and made some great friends. Those years have been the most rewarding and, though retired now, they remain very memorable."

Colin Brothers (Staff)

"Glad and proud to have played a very small part in its history. Here's to the future!"

Andrea Llewellyn

"Agree with others, very glad I decided to attend RNC. One of the best life decisions I've ever made. It gave me a huge level of independence and set the groundwork for who I am today."

Sidney Tambin (Student)

"My funniest memory was having one of the abdominal exercises named after me, as I kept moaning about it every time we had to do it in the gym sessions that I attended. The tutor had to lift my legs in the air, which caused amusement from everyone in the gym including the poor individual who was being assessed at the time."

Isobel Calladine (2008-2009)

This tweet from @ThatWelshKaren reads: A memory from RNC? I used to love sitting outside the main building on the benches in the summer. It was my peaceful place where I could watch the world go by. The college is surrounded by some beautiful scenery.' The tweet also includes a picture of the bench and the tree where Karen used to sit. 
"I have a lot of good memories. Not least the trip to France. The food was beautiful. I made at least two friends there who are now friends for life. Their child is my godson. I might not have stayed there for the full time but RNC did a heck of a lot for me in my life. I grew up there and experienced a lot of rights of passage there. Thank you, you helped me grow up, spread my wings and live my life."

Josh Daniel Harrison (Student 2012-2015)
"I attended The Royal National College for the Blind during the mid 80s. We had a visit from the Queen and Prince Philip who opened the new computer building which was then known as the Queen's Building. I enjoyed taking part in drama. Whilst I was there we performed different plays, these were: '50 Miles to Hereford Puss' based on the Dick Whittington story; 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat'; 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', a pantomime in which I played the leading role as Snow White. I still have the video and the photo album."

Sameena Karim (Student 1984-1987)

"My late wife, Alison (Bowen) did a mobility demonstration for the Prince of Wales when he officially opened Hereford. She also received her £50 typing prize from him."

Brian C Winter

The picture below shows Alison standing on stage collecting her award from Prince Charles. There are dignitaries sat on the stage and many of the audience members in the foreground are wearing hats for the occasion.

"One of the best things I could ever have done is come to RNC. Three of the best years of my life. Always have a great feeling when I think of the place. Thank you for everything!"

Gav Higgins (Student 2002-2005)

"I had the privilege to work at RNC for 10 years. Proud to be part of this wonderful organisation's history."

Cathy Fletcher (Staff)

"Meeting my best friend Charlie Vernall in 2008 and we have been friends ever since."

Sammy Louise Newman (Student)
"100% one of the best things I did. My four years at RNC both as a student and on the TEP Scheme as a member of staff brought more memories and opportunities that I can possibly write. From the fantastic teaching staff of the Music Tech/Media/Performing Arts which I worked closely with throughout my time there, to looking back over my involvement in the SU as Entertainment Officer and the many enjoyable nights in the Dog & Cane bar, along with the extra curricular/enrichment put on which allowed me to go fishing regularly with Barry Morris and the involvement in partially sighted football (and the start of the RNC Football Academy) made for an amazing part of my life that I'll never forget!"

Dave Knowles (Student 2006-2010)

This tweet from @ShaunImg-gaymer reads: 'I remember when we celebrated 140 years. This time 10 years ago I was half way through my 2nd year. A lot of ups and downs (more ups). One thing you did for me is allow me to live life fully independently for the first time in my life #RNC150Memories'
"Great experience I had at the College in 2018 for six months over the winter, doing Business Admin. Met some amazing people there and the staff were pretty good too. How the College helped me... I'm quite determined for, at that time, a 45 year old bloke but what came out of the College is I learnt a lot about myself and what I can achieve. So keep up the great work College. Hope you're here for a few more years yet. But would be a dream one day they'll be no blind people in this world. But that is a long way off yet, so keep up the great work and will come back one day when I'm passing."

Paul Smith (Student 2018)
Tiri remembers meeting great friends. In this picture Tiri sits outside in the sunshine with friend Charlotte Milburn at the end of year celebrations 2018.

Tiri Hughes (Student 2015-2018)

"I have fond memories of drinking in the social bar from 1992-1995 (not the entire time) and helping to find an escaped guide dog on Venns Lane."

Kevin McLaughlin (Student 1992-1995)

"As a Performing Arts lecturer at RNC, I had the pleasure of teaching Menna Fitzpatrick (Menna recently gained the title of Team GB's most decorated winter Paralympian). Menna showed great promise as an actor - particularly in Theatre in Ed. I spent a lot of time trying to dissuade her from skiing, thinking it was a bit of a dead end career aspiration! #EatMyWords"

Cara Tivey (Staff)
Tiri remembers 'The Beast from the East' in her final year at RNC 2018. Here's guide dog, Darby, sitting in the snow on campus, with snow on the end of his nose [he's a black Labrador].

Tiri Hughes (Student 2015-2018)

"Meeting my now fiancé, Kieran, and sister Imogen in 2013 as we all started our College adventure together."

Paige Lillywhite (Student 2013)

"Inspirational ❤️"

Colin Smith (Student)

"So many beautiful memories there... one of the best years of my life was as an SSW at RNCB."

Lamiska HT

"I was able to attend a concert given bt the Herefordshire Police Choir, and I was allowed to help with selling programmes and raffle tickets, etc. The best thing about that was that I was able to get a very good reference which formed part of my Business Admin portfolio, thus meeting one of the missing criteria."

Isobel Calladine (2008-2009)
'We had the Queen open the College at Dorton House. Such a shame it closed down. That's brilliant RNC are celebrating 150 years, we had a commemorative mug for an anniversary at Dorton House. I've still got mine and it has all our names on it. I'm sure there was an event such as a garden party at the time.'

Natasha Layton-Rees (Student)

"This is a video of me taking part in the British National Cycling competition over at Newport. It's not something I thought I'd be doing once I had left RNC."

Nadeem Mughal (Student)
"A snow fight around the winter season of 1990/1991, the photo below shows that wonderful spontaneous bit of fun. It was actually one of the happiest years of my life. Following miserable years at boarding school RNC was such a positive experience. Many lovely fellow students and staff and have lots of great memories from my short time there and I'm still in touch with a few friends from there, thanks for the memories."

Tanja Price (Student 1990-1991)

"I spent three happy years at RNC from 1988 to 1991. My memories are of just being a teenager. Freedom away from parents, first love and going into town at the weekend to spend my money. It felt like we were just normal kids living our best lives before we had to grow up."

Joanne Michelle (Student 1988-1991)

"I was there in 2003 and we had a black and white theme ball. The Beat were our entertainment. Staff and students alike danced to some absolute tunes. It was a fantastic night. I wish I had photos but I was too busy enjoying the occasion."

Samm Mills-Hutchinson (Student 2003)
"Many years ago I attended an RNIB Worcester holiday and was guided around by Kerry Pickering. Little did I know that when I attended the College in 2008, Kerry would become my Mobility Teacher."

Isobel Calladine (2008-2009)

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