Sunday, March 18, 2007

175 years on

The celebration dinner for Durham University's 175th birthday was last night at the Queen's Campus in Stockton-on-Tees. Actually, as the site is on the South side of the River Tees, it's in Thornaby-on-Tees which is part of the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees. And if that's not complicated enough, the Queen's Campus is about 150 years younger than its parent university. So we celebrated the growth of the "baby" as well as the venerable age of the "parent".
It was my good fortune that the Mayor's Consort was unable to attend and I was invited in his place. I met Sir Kenneth Calman at his final event at this campus as vice-chancellor, Sir Fred Holliday (after whom the Holliday building is named), and heard of the vision which led to the foundation of Queen's and of the exciting vision for the future all while enjoying a superb meal.
The Mayor spoke of the good relationship that has developed over the last 15 years and of the things she hopes will develop in the future. I just hope that her successors continue the good work. If I can do anything to encourage it I certainly will. Unfortunately the weather forecast was spot on for the evening and the gale made the marquee seem a very dubious place to be, especially when a bulb from a chandelier crashed to the ground. Suzanne carried on with her usual determination and people listened and enjoyed what they heard, but Sir Kenneth decided that it would be safer to adjourn to the Rotunda for the rest of the speeches which were given without benefit of microphone and so were more difficult to hear from where I was standing.

No-one was injured and everyone seemed to have enjoyed the evening, even if I didn't win the signed Middlesbrough shirt!

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