HOGGS- Hatfield Impressions - 50 years on

As reported in 2019 Dunelm Magazine, a group of 8 Hatfield men made it to the College in June, 50 years after their graduation in 1969. United through a love of golf, banter, reminiscences and the occasional pint, the Hoggs* have been meeting for an annual golf tour for the last 12 years and this time arranged for it to be centred on Durham to mark this “golden” landmark. The high point was a dinner in the SCR arranged by one of our number - David Bower - who extended an invitation to the Master, Prof Ann Maclarnon, who, we are delighted to report, joined us for the evening.

At the dinner we each gave a brief potted history to the Master of our path through life since 1969, which was received with interest. We took the opportunity of presenting Ann with a small memento of our Golf Tour to Durham, a framed HOGGS logo, and we understand this will be proudly displayed in Kingsgate House. One of the Hoggs, Robin Bostock-Smith, presented Ann with a book, a biography of his aunt Dame Enid Russel-Smith, (a former Principal of St Aidan’s) who, like Ann, was at Newnham, Cambridge many years earlier. Ann was also the winner of our “Champagne moment” award, won when she told David “For goodness sake, David, get on with it!” during his rather wordy after dinner thank you speech. After the meal had concluded Ann suggested that we should adjourn to the bar. We are not sure that “past Masters” would have done the same but it was a joy to experience the bar full of Hatfield students celebrating the end of exams. How things have changed, and all changes for the better; female students; a female Master engaging in bar banter; many students from other Colleges; and many students were clearly enjoying conversing with 70 year old pensioners, and showing an interest in the old days ….okay we were buying a few rounds but it was welcome bonhomie in both directions.

What did impress us was the effort now being put behind extending the Hatfield experience not just to the chosen few from elite schools, but also to the less advantaged students who might not otherwise have had the opportunity. In our day, ability on the Rugby and other sports fields was almost the sole entry criteria to enter Hatfield; how things have changed, clearly for the better!
Another great impression – Student Welfare and overall College support has vastly improved. Mentors are at every turn! Even the College website covers every aspect of student life, with advice on all problems likely to be encountered. The in-College accommodation is significantly improved, (we sampled it in 2016); and, for those students living out of College, every effort is made to include them in College life.

Overall we experienced the feel good factor of Hatfield, and we are grateful to Ann for a splendid evening.

In addition to golf at Ramside Hall and Brancepeth Castle, and the aforementioned dinner in College, we had a stroll down memory lane with visits to the Dun Cow and the Shakespeare, and at various stages met up with our Hatfield contemporaries Mal Newlyn, Ken Flynn and Peter Anderson. We are penciling a return to Durham for our 60th anniversary; maybe sooner!

* The Hoggs (Hatfield Old Gits Golf Society) are Messrs Bostock-Smith, Bower, Coligan, Fisher, Jameson, Martin, Roberts, and Wills

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