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Lifelong friends return to RNC
Early in June, we welcomed a group of lifelong friends who had developed their friendship through studying at RNC in the 1970s and 1980s.
Fast forward 40+ years and the group were back in Hereford again to revisit their old stomping ground. Much has changed in that time, not least the College, which no longer owns the southern campus, where they would have spent the majority of their time.
Nonetheless, the party was thrilled to be on campus again, recounting very happy memories of their time spent at the College. During a tour of the current facilities, led by Lucy Proctor, Executive Principal, there was much interest in how the College had moved forward, with many comparisons drawn between the College now and back then.
Michelle Rivers works in the London Borough of Brent as a technical officer for the visually impaired, and said:
'I loved every minute of being at RNC. I was very young when I came, and it was my first time away from home. But I met the people I came here today with, and we've been lifelong friends. I did a lot of learning here and picked up a lot of life skills. I carried on learning Braille here and still teach it today when needed. It's come as a bit of a shock to realise 40 years have passed and I had butterflies in my stomach coming back today. It was a fantastic time in my life, and I learnt lots of social skills.'
Following a tour of the sports facilities and a stop off at the site where a new media suite would be installed over the summer, the group was taken into a building known as Armitage (named after one of our founders, Dr Thomas Rhodes Armitage), which in the 1970s and 1980s was a hall of residence. It has recently been transformed into a new teaching area and everyone was particularly impressed with the new Independent Living Skills (ILS) kitchens. Although there was one emotional moment, when one of the group realised they were standing in their old bedroom, now a kitchen bay!
Coming from all over the country and from all walks of life, it was really interesting to listen to individual stories over a coffee and discover what everyone is doing now, such as working in local government, piano tuning and consulting on nature and inclusivity.
Lucy Proctor and Melanie Denning, Fundraising Manager, were delighted to host the group. The two-hour visit went in a flash and could have easily carried on with such an entertaining crowd who are a great source of inspiration for future students.
Following the visit, Mandy Hutson, wrote:
'Thank you for making us all feel so welcome. Each of us was very impressed with how RNC has evolved and the opportunities that are now available to your students. We spent much of the afternoon reminiscing about our time at RNC and wishing we were there now to take full advantage of what is offered.'
The alumni group visiting Hereford consisted of:
Eiron Davies, Tony Hegarty, Mandy Hutson, Alison McTavish, Paula Moen, Michelle Rivers, Gary Seaman, Andy Shipley, Ed Stewart and Caroline Wadden along with partners.
Here's the group standing on the balcony of the student bistro
The group give a big cheer