"An enjoyable reunion was held in the Picture Gallery on Saturday, 19th September, the latest in those for the 'Pioneers' (the first male undergraduates at RHC) who had come up exactly fifty years before in 1965, and for those women who had come up the same year (the female 'Pioneers' of course came up in 1886). About a hundred attended in all, including the Principal, Professor Paul Layzell, and (with his wife Ruth) Dr Roy Miller, a former Principal, whom so many owed so much as the first Warden of Kingswood. The reunion team are grateful to all the College staff who helped, but especially Laura Bassani-Merron of the Alumni Relations Department, to whom I made a well-deserved floral presentation. As most of those present are on the cusp of 70, we hope to have the next reunion in two years' time, the dates of which will be notified as soon as possible."
Vianney Waters (RHC 1965-68)
A beautiful, late summer’s day at Royal Holloway College saw more than 100 visitors celebrate 50 years of the first male students in 1965. The so-called “Pioneers” met in the magnificent setting of the Picture Gallery with a welcoming speech by Professor Paul Layzell, the present Principal, despite his heavy engagement in Freshers’ Day! Naturally, female students were well represented and we were delighted to welcome Dr Roy Miller, the first Warden of Kingswood, and Ruth, his wife.
The first Pioneers streamed in before ten o’clock and a buzz of conversation fired up which did not dim until the very late afternoon. Indeed, the exchange of views, amusing stories and tales of career and family carried on down at the Runnymede Hotel and a long, wonderful day signed off in the Hub at midnight for some of us.
The setting was magnificent, the Picture Gallery at its most welcoming and combined with excellent organisation, involving the Alumni Team, the Catering Staff and the Pioneers’ Taskforce ensured a genuinely great day. Pioneers came from as far as Canada, South Africa, Europe, Ireland and all over Britain. A family reunion? It certainly seemed like it, peals of laughter rang out incessantly, hundreds of photos were taken and everyone enjoyed the catering. The group photos in the quadrangle will embellish albums in years to come.
Amazing to think that quite a number of those present had not met for 47 years and it was heart-warming how a few brief moments were enough to rekindle that spirit which so suffused our lives 50 years ago. Name tags did help us to quickly identify each other and perhaps the large print reminded us that a few decades had passed since we came up to College!
For many students, the Kingswood Hall of Residence was a fount of memories, not least the building mud which enlivened our first few days! Yet, invariably we remembered the good things, the wonderful autumn days and the red squirrels leaping around, the proximity to Windsor Great Park, the beauty of the grounds, even the gas fires and toasting forks. Sport figured very highly too along with the creation of teams and societies which are taken for granted today. The first Union building featured prominently, as did Founder’s itself.
The tenor of the day was captured by many quotes saying what a magnificent occasion people had enjoyed and how it surpassed everyone’s expectations. The only criticism was that it had been too short, so this will be addressed for the next reunion!
Bernard Uttley, Pioneer