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The Corporation

Posted: 04/12/15

Former staff and students reunite, one year on from diamond celebrations

Former students and staff at West Nottinghamshire College’s Derby Road campus in Mansfield gathered for a lunchtime reunion – almost a year after first coming together to mark its 60th anniversary.

Guests reunite at the lunchtime gathering.

Almost 25 contributors to the commemorative book ‘Celebrating Sixty Years’ – launched at a glittering gala dinner last December – attended a buffet get-together earlier this week (Tuesday 1 December, 2015) with husbands, wives and guests to catch-up, swap stories and cement their links with the college.

The event was the brainchild of 89-year-old Roy Broadley, the guest of honour at the last year’s celebrations, who studied at the former Mansfield Technical College on Chesterfield Road – now home to Vision Studio School – in the early 1940s, before going on to teach engineering at the newly-built Derby Road campus in 1954.

Other guests included former electrical student Malcolm Brown – one of Derby Road’s first-ever students and founder of its inaugural football team – and friends-turned-business partners Jamie Fryatt and Pete Scully, who launched successful Mansfield web marketing agency SF Media after originally meeting as students in the late 1990s.

Also joining the celebrations were Wendy Wragg, Eileen Matthews and Val Ward – former colleagues who became life-long friends – and well-known ex-principal Don Mackenzie, who led the college from 1974-1994.

Current staff member Jan Littler – herself an ex-student – and former head of facilities Kevan Hodgson, along with recently-retired head of academic, public services and sport studies Mary Buckland, were amongst the other attendees.

Explaining his idea for the lunchtime event, Roy said: “Reading the commemorative book, it crossed my mind that several people who contributed to it were here during my time, so I thought it would be rather nice if we could all meet again – informally and socially – and have a nice little chat.

“So I put the idea to the college, which made it happen, and we’ve had an absolutely superb couple of hours nattering away about what the college was like in our particular time. And between us, we’ve spanned something like 60 years. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding experience.

“I’d like to thank the college very much indeed.”

Roy left the college in December 1959 to take up a lecturer’s post at Worthing College, where he remained until retiring in 1986.

He saw the Derby Road campus for the first time in several decades last December when returning for the anniversary celebrations, which also saw him visit our state-of-the-art engineering centre.

“The question I had to keep asking myself was ‘Is it the same college that I came to?’” said Roy. “I couldn’t believe how it had changed so much, from a very compartmentalised college to a homogenous mass where everybody is working together – and it’s that which I admire as much as anything.”

Since returning to his native Nottinghamshire with wife Joan earlier this year, Roy has enjoyed tours of Station Park and an emotional visit to the studio school building, where he stood on the very spot where he first saw fellow student Joan all those years ago.

Outlining why the college still holds a special place in his heart, Roy said: “It goes back to 3 September 1940 when two eventful things happened. I came to college wanting to be a joiner and they gave me the taste for engineering – and on my very first day here, I met the girl who went on to become my wife. So I owe my life, and everything I’ve done since that day, to when I came here as a 14-year-old student.

“I owe this college so much. But I’m not alone in this; the majority of students and members of staff who experienced West Notts will say the same. It really is a superb college.”