APS Reunion 2017.

Saturday 7th October.

Holiday Inn Hotel, Liverpool.

Liverpool prepared a surprise for our 2017 Reunion – they closed Lime Street station!! Maybe this was a test of our grit and determination? If it was, then we all passed with flying colours as it did not prevent 57 past students meeting to celebrate yet another anniversary since leaving College. I think some of us may have ended up visiting parts of Liverpool we never knew existed (maybe they didn’t 50yrs ago!) either on our journey there or on the way home. Returning home, I personally changed trains 5 times and had an additional bus journey, just to get as far as Manchester!! However, none of this could dim the excitement of being in back in a city that held so many happy memories for us.

There was much additional excitement as people gathered in the lounge before dinner, when we realised that Miss Moffett (Duffy, to all those who knew her in College) had journeyed all the way from the USA to spend the reunion with us. Duffy came from the USA to join the staff of I M Marsh in the early 1960s and ultimately stayed as a lecturer until 1981. Her special area was in games and there were to be many references during the ensuing weekend from people who felt indebted to her for the influence she had on their subsequent careers.

We enjoyed an excellent evening meal together as a group and, at times, it was difficult to fit the eating in with the talking!!

The following morning, we welcomed more past students who were just attending for the day and the buzz started all over again. Finally, everyone was ushered into our meeting room to be welcomed by our President, Barbara Graham (Holmes 1975). For the very first time (in my memory) Linda Bond (Ward 1967) was unable to lead the early proceedings due to an injury sustained whilst dancing. However, Meg Maunder (1969) proved to be a more than able deputy as she led the way in getting people to know each other. We discussed topics such as ‘Why we chose I M Marsh’, and, ‘Who or what was the greatest influence on our subsequent careers’. As ever, there was no shortage of memories and stories and a lot of laughter!!

After a break for coffee, Barbara introduced our speaker for the day, Sheila Morrow Director of GB Hockey. Sheila studied at I M Marsh graduating in 1968 and ultimately played representative hockey for Wales and Great Britain. She entitled her talk ‘My Lucky Life in Hockey’. The title was chosen because she felt there were many occasions when just a matter of luck had steered her career in such a fortunate way. She mentioned a time in College when she had been invited to trials for the North Wales team but had to turn down the offer because she had been selected to play for the College 1st Xl against Anstey and ‘College always came first’. However, it snowed on the appointed day and the Anstey matches were cancelled. She was able to get to the North Wales trials, was selected and from there never looked back. She remembered with some amusement that at subsequent Welsh trials it was almost as important to be able to sing as to play hockey. As well as the business of playing hockey, the tournaments were also very special ‘social’ events and, of course, the Welsh team was always expected to sing!! The national teams were often packed with players from the PE Colleges and in the World Cup on one occasion when England beat Wales by 2 goals to nil, Sheila’s only consolation was that the England goals were scored by another ex I M Marsh student, Ann Hardy. In 1980 a strong GB Hockey team qualified for the Moscow Olympics and Sheila was selected for the team. Indeed, she was the captain. Imagine her disappointment when most of the western world boycotted the Olympics and the GB Hockey National Governing Body withdrew. Unfortunately, GB Hockey did not qualify for the Olympics in 1984 and her chance of being an Olympic athlete disappeared. However, not completely for, after retiring from playing, she continued her ‘hockey’ life by moving into ‘Technical Officiating’. She went as a judge to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and to the London Olympics in 2012. A further step up the ladder saw her as Competition Director at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and her recent promotion to President of GB Hockey will see her representing GB Hockey Ltd at the Tokyo Olympics. Playing representative hockey is a vastly different experience to what it was 40 yrs. ago when players were amateurs who often funded their own clothing and travelling expenses. The players of today are full time professionals, in training all the time. Their funding is dependent on their results. It was absorbing to be shown an insight into a world not many of us have experienced. Perhaps Sheila was right about the ‘luck’ element in her early life, but no one achieves the level that she has without an enormous amount of talent and hard work. The questions at the end of her talk came in a long stream indicating how interested her audience had been.

After a break for lunch we returned to the meeting room to conduct the AGM. Barbara welcomed everyone, especially those who had travelled vast distances; Sue Panter Bovair (Ager 1967) from Spain, Duffy Moffett (staff) and Dorcas Zeeso (Croughan 1967) from the USA, Jane Dale (1967) and Kate Tiffany (Entrican 1967) from Canada. She also congratulated the year of 1967 who had managed to get 28 past students to attend the reunion and celebrate 50 yrs. since leaving College.
Kath Simpson (Fahey 1972) our Membership Secretary reported that we currently have 257 members and 10 Honorary Members and staff. This represents a fall in membership, which, bearing in mind that I M Marsh effectively became part of the Liverpool Polytechnic in 1981, is hardly surprising.
Jean Taylor (Sutton 1967) our Treasurer reported that, despite losing money at the Warwick Reunion, we still have a healthy balance. We are not a profit-making organisation and, in simple terms, the membership fees cover the cost of the Journal plus incidental expenses and the Reunion is self-funding.
Our Journal Editor, Sylvia Ellis (Phillips 1964) was sailing the high seas on a world cruise but her report was read by Prof Sheila Wigmore (1967). The Journal had cost less to produce this year largely because work had been undertaken to reduce duplication of reports and thereby save pages. Sylvia said she received good comments about the Journal and she encouraged everyone to keep their Set News coming in asap.

Kath Simpson (Fahey 1972), June Nash (Oscroft 1967) and Prof Sheila Wigmore (1967) were unanimously re-elected as Membership Secretary, Reunion Organiser and Archives Co-ordinator respectively.

The venue for our next Reunion will be announced shortly. Details and booking forms will be in next year’s Journal, normally published late March/early April and will be on our website www.immarshpaststudents.org.uk shortly thereafter.

Barbara presented everyone with an engraved pen as a memento of our 2017 Reunion before bringing the meeting to an end.

After the AGM some people made a last visit to the I M Marsh Campus. Or is it the last? Many of those attending stayed on at the Holiday Inn and enjoyed a privately served Reunion Dinner on the Saturday evening. The food was excellent and thank goodness June had made a list of what food we had ordered a couple of months ago as few of us could remember! A quiz was put on each table and this generated lots of interest, chatter and memories. There were no prizes but this did not dim the celebrations when getting questions right!! A competitive bunch as ever.

Members of the Committee were delighted that everyone seemed to have an enjoyable day and they hope that members will join us next year. Information re date and venue will be posted on the website shortly. If you would like to become a member of the Association you can apply through the ‘How to Join’ section of the website. You can always reach us by filling in the ‘Contact Us’ tab on the website. We are always happy to hear your opinions. Please make sure to fill in your email address carefully on any of the forms – it is our only way of reaching you!

You can view photographs of the reunion by clicking on the ‘Gallery’.