Long-standing employees share their memories as Bucks marks 125 years


Date: 13th Mar 2017

Buckinghamshire New University is celebrating our 125th anniversary and welcomed the memories of two of its long-serving staff, Dr Ray Batchelor and Tony Everett, who have worked at the University for more than 25 years each.

Dr Batchelor is a Principal Lecturer in Visual & Material Culture and first arrived at Bucks in 1989 as a part-time lecturer at the age of 35. He picks up his story here:

"I arrived as a part-time lecturer at Buckinghamshire College of Further & Higher Education in September 1989. I was 35 and had decided to try my hand at lecturing and see if I got found out. Eventually, I realised everyone feels like that.

"As a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where I studied alongside Alan Rickman and Imelda Staunton, I have enjoyed the performance element where you get to write your own scripts, and as a design history graduate of the Royal College of Art, the opportunity to talk about 'things and what they mean' and get paid for it was too good to miss.

"I stayed, becoming full time in 1992. Punctuated with the inevitable dramas (bad) and crises (worse), I have enjoyed and am enjoying my time here enormously. Above all, I have valued working with people - academics, PSEs, technicians - who have the best interests of the students at heart.

"Over the years, this informal community has evolved - people come and go - and achieved a great deal.

"Those who know me know that I teach the history and theory of art and design and have an interest in improving teaching and learning, but that I have no choice but to dance the Argentinian Tango - and Queer Tango at that - as it is my passion in life.

"I think it a measure of the underlying strength of this University that, setting my notional job description to one side, it has consistently agreed to support me in a succession of original, tango-related research projects.

"I look forward to continuing to support students in my chosen specialism of art and design as well as realising research outputs involving my other specialism of dance, which has effectively chosen me."

Tony Everett is Health & Safety Manager and his father, Desmond, was a former Principal and Director of the University. Tony's brother, Michael, Principal Lecturer in Computing & IT, is also a long-standing Bucks employee.

Tony studied at the University when it was a college and had several jobs in the furniture industry before becoming a fireman based at High Wycombe for eight years.

He started working at Bucks in 1991 and was initially based at the former John North Halls of Residence as a warden of 98 students. Tony has also worked as a conference centre manager and health and safety advisor before becoming Health and Safety Manager.

He said: "Since then, I have worked within several departments - from the Clerk to the Governors, HR and now Estates, Facilities and Services Directorate. Over the past 25 years I've made numerous friends during my time here.

"I was here and had input when Chalfont Campus closed and also when the Gateway building was built. Plus, the refurbishment of East, North and South Wings, the refurbishment of Uxbridge Campus, the building of Hughenden Student Village (phases 1 and 2), and the building refurbishment of Windsor House halls of residence. Also, I've seen this institution gain University status, along with all this magnificent building works. I put a lot of the credit for this down to Ian Hunter, Director of Estates & Facilities!

"I have really enjoyed my time working here. It's like an extended family. The way that the Government keeps extending the retirement age - here's to my next 25 years! Cheers and good health to everyone."

Dr Batchelor and Mr Everett were among Bucks staff who have worked at the University for 25 years who enjoyed a celebration lunch with Vice-Chancellor Professor Rebecca Bunting in The Room at the High Wycombe Campus.

Dr Batchelor, Elaine Brown, Linda Cuthbert, Wendy Diplock, Michael Everett, Tony Everett, Ian Fendom, Mike King, Matthew Rodman, Roland Scales and Ellie Smith were recognised.

Prof Bunting said: "Between you, you have given 275 years to the University, which is a great thing to be able to look back on. Think how much the University has changed during your time here and the digital things you can do now which you couldn't think of doing 25 years ago.

"Think what the University looked like, how much it has changed, and what it was like then compared to now. We thank you all for the hours, days, months and years you have given to making Bucks a success."

The colleagues received £250 John Lewis gift vouchers each and a certificate.

Buckinghamshire New University has produced a short film featuring photos from the last 125 years with help from Bucks Free Press archives, High Wycombe Society and High Wycombe Library. Watch the film, here.