Crowne Plaza Hotel Birmingham
Friday and Saturday 4th & 5th October 2019

This was our very first time in Birmingham and I have to say that when I arrived at New Street Station it felt as though I had set foot on a different planet. This enormous station is situated completely underground, and I was faced with a myriad of different directions in which I could opt to proceed. The place was full of people buzzing in various directions. Most of them, unlike me, seemed to know exactly where they were heading. I was never more thankful for the foresight of our Reunion Organiser, June Nash, who had provided us with directions from the station to the Crowne Plaza Hotel and my own foresight (for once!!) in printing them. Removing them from my pocket I set about religiously following them with eyes only for landmarks I was given. Thank you June, without that I help I could still be underground in New Street station to this day.

Fifty-five people had opted to attend the reunion and most of them arrived on Friday afternoon and gathered in the evening for the Reunion Dinner. This was in the form of a buffet and it was instantly obvious that the Year of ’69 would be the stars of the show as they met up to celebrate 50yrs since leaving College. They occupied two whole tables and were clearly enjoying renewing old friendships and exchanging stories both of their time in College and their lives since leaving. I’m not sure what time they finally got to bed but I did hear talk at breakfast the following morning of a ‘pyjama party’!!

We all reconvened the next morning, along with those who had arrived for the day. Inevitably the first thing was coffee and locate your badge. Those of us who regularly attend the reunions were very disappointed that Marion Percy (nee Robertson, 1950) was too ill to be with us. She is a regular and would have been celebrating 69yrs since leaving College. She is planning to be with us next year to celebrate 70!! There was one other person who failed to arrive, and I can only hope that she is not still in the bowels of New Street Station.

Linda’s famous ‘shuffle session’ involved a little less ‘shuffling’ this year……does she think we are getting a bit ancient? However, the groups we had been allocated to ensured that everyone was equally involved whether they had come alone or part of a larger year group. As always, there was no shortage of stories from our time at I M Marsh and this year with twenty 1969ers attending we were treated to new ones. The story of a dance group performing on the lawn below Riversdale to the tune of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ with heads poking out of the windows above them accompanying with tambourines (or any other substitute for a percussion instrument) together with feathers being emptied from a pillow (the culprit was present but shall remain nameless) had everyone listening in hysterics.

A break for coffee and refreshments was followed by the more serious business of the AGM. Barbara Graham (Holmes 1975), our President welcomed everyone to the AGM and began by thanking members of the Committee and Set Representatives for all their hard work through the year. She also congratulated our very own Sheila Morrow (1968) who had been awarded the OBE for services to Welsh hockey in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Kath Simpson (Fahey 1972), our Membership Coordinator, told us that we currently have 250 members. Jean Taylor (Sutton 1967), our Treasurer, declared that we are in a healthy financial situation and reminded everyone that all cheques in future should be made payable to IMMAPSCPE. Sylvia Ellis (Phillips 1964), our retiring Journal Editor, thanked everyone who had assisted her with producing the Journal over the time she had been in post. She expressed particular thanks to Linda Bond who would be taking over as Journal Editor for finally giving her a rest from the job! However, Sylvia would still be assisting Linda as the final publishing would continue to be done in Warrington. Our President, Barbara, informed everybody that there would also be a ‘cabinet reshuffle’. Jean Taylor would be stepping down from the post of Treasurer and Kath Dowthwaite (1973) would be taking over. Despite an impassioned appeal for a volunteer to take over Kath’s duties as Secretary, none were forthcoming. For the moment the post remains vacant and we would appeal to anyone from the membership who feels they can help in this area to get in touch with Barbara Graham or any member of the Committee. We have 240 passengers on the APS ‘bus’, and we would welcome a few more ‘drivers’!!

Professors Sheila Wigmore and Pat Shenton gave an update on the book they are writing recording the history of I M Marsh. The book would be in 4 volumes and a short booklet giving a sample of the second volume (The Marie Crabbe Years) was given to everyone present. Pat Shenton said the I M Marsh campus would finally close in 2021 by which time all courses would have moved to the new School of Education in central Liverpool.

The venue for next year’s reunion will be Holiday Inn, Liverpool on the weekend of 2nd/3rd October 2020.

Following the closure of the AGM we all went to enjoy a splendid buffet lunch served in the hotel restaurant.

The afternoon session of the day was devoted to our speaker Winn Heath who took us through the influence that I M Marsh had had on the development of Games countrywide. Winn was an international hockey player herself and a lecturer at I M Marsh from 1975 until 2001. As Winn reminded us of past students who had represented their country in various games disciplines, we realised that we have some illustrious alumni.

Barbara closed the day by wishing everyone a safe journey home and presenting them with an engraved pen as a memento of the Birmingham reunion. She added that our customary raffle had raised £148 for Sequel Trust.