27 June 2011

Sheffield University Geology (Honours) Class of 1971

Geology Class of 1971

Re-union 18 June 2011

About 18 months ago three members of the class started to track down the others and to organise a reunion. They had a surprising success, mainly with the assistance of the internet, but the network of links from people who knew a mutual friend played a part. Thanks to Mike Sarginson, Bettie Higgs & Andy Bell for their efforts.

Our first Easter Field Trip in 1969 was scheduled to visit the area around Shap, south of Penrith. However, due to a snowstorm we ended up going with the general honours group down to Weston-super-Mare & the Mendips. So the theme for the reunion was “The Lost Field Trip”. Meeting up at the Shap Wells Hotel in the late afternoon of Friday 17th, a lot of catching up on everyone’s news commenced. On Saturday, we had a fantastic day in the field visiting sites of the Skiddaw slates, Borrowdale Volcanics, Shap granite/bluestone and Carboniferous Limestone - with a final surprise visit to the Orton Chocolate Factory! The group was led by Andy Bell and Bettie Higgs, both are Open University tutors. After a superb dinner we laughed our way through many memories and photographs.

The only regret – everyone was deeply saddened by the fact that the Geology Department was closed down. It had a great international reputation and – as our group has proved – produced many successful graduates. We are looking into the possibility of publishing an account of the history of the department and would like to hear from other interested former staff and students.

As geologists, we have had to be adaptable and our careers have taken us all over the world.* Several members have been involved in mining, mineral exploration and the oil industry, some have followed very successful academic careers in geology or mathematics, others have branched out into museums and research. Like everyone else there have been the ups and downs - new opportunities, redundancies, family joys and tragedies - but on the whole it was agreed that our time at Sheffield had been well spent and we had come away with the knowledge and confidence that enabled us to tackle life’s challenges successfully. Some of us have already retired from paid employment, but are finding satisfaction by working as volunteers in our communities and intend to travel, explore and keep on learning for as long as possible! We are all looking forward to our next reunion.

Photo - Knott Scarr Outcrop (Carboniferous Limestone)
Top - Chris Dennison, Phil Gibbard
Middle - Andy Bell, Malcolm Langford, Mike Sarginson, Ken Higgs, Ian
Gill, Chris Rowson, Brian Wilson, Emlyn (Sam) Koster
Lower - Derek Moss, Mick Harvey, Alison Hunter (Knowles), Bettie Higgs
(Matheson), Tricia Rayment (Pat Clark)

In addition to the group who turned up - we had apologies from Rod Hill
[Yukon], Dave Mourant [South Africa], Len Pile [Beijing], Keith Harvey
[France], and from Christine West (Newton) and Jenny Piggott (Foulser) in the UK. We were unable to track down John Williams and regrettably Mike Probert had
passed away. [According to the Alumni Office records.]

*Some of the places the Class members have lived and worked in over the years:
Abu Dhabi, Angola, Arctic, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Baltics, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt. England, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Phillipines, Poland, Qatar, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sumatra, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkmenistan, USA, Vietnam, Wales.

For further information contact Alison Hunter on illustrator@aditlevel.co.uk