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Your favourite memories as part of a Bristol society

Joyce Hinton (BA 1939)

Classics ball in 1994

Andy Dangerfield (BA 1998)

Michael Short (BSc 1958)

3 August 2016

Societies and sports clubs have been instrumental in shaping Bristol alumni and students for years. From hot air ballooning, Filmsoc, and attempting a Guinness World Record, here are your favourite memories of life outside of the lecture theatreā€¦

Joyce Hinton (BA 1939) said: ‘My husband, Edward Hinton (BSc 1938), known as Dick, was the president of the Union in 1939 and it was customary to wear evening dress or even tails to dances and functions. As NUS sec., I used to go to balls in other Universities around England with him. My best memory was when Dick was President, and the US Ambassador came to receive a special degree. Dick organised a special presentation of a mock degree called "degree Fahrenheit" on the steps of the union building, and many of us escorted him back to the main building in our cars.’

Andy Dangerfield (BA 1998) said: ‘In my first week at Bristol in 1994, I helped set up the No More Hiroshima’s society, to campaign against the use of nuclear weapons. It must have worked, as we're still all here...’

Michael Short (BSc 1958) said: 'When I arrived at Bristol in 1955 there was a freshers’ fair at which all sorts of clubs ranging from vigorous sports to political parties were offering membership. I thought it would be useful to learn something practical such as how to row a boat, so I joined the Boat Club, and sixty years later I wrote ‘On the river’:

The oars splash in the oily water;
The smell of the gasworks wafts over the river 
While its giant pipes throb and hiss.
The wind is cold and damp - I shiver;
The blisters on my hands are starting to bleed;
I ask myself: "Why am I doing this?’ 
Read the rest of the poem here.

Ian Long (BSc 1981) said: ‘Filmsoc was always the great favourite. After the first year everyone learnt that it was more important to queue for the limited filmsoc registration than to actually register for your course. Why? It was very cheap and you could get to see two or three films a week all over Bristol. And of course, the wonderful 'all-nighters’. I saw more films than I would ever imagine and met a lot of like-minded people, one of whom was later my best man.’

Margaret Hills (BSc 1980) said: ‘I was active in OPSOC - many happy memories of rehearsals and performances. We did one "serious" production each year and a couple of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. We tried to do a non-stop singalong of all the Gilbert & Sullivans to get into the Guinness Book of Records (it didn't), but we finished by the Cabot Tower at dawn.’

Sophie Osborne (MSci 2014) said: ‘I was (and still am!) a member of Bristol University Latin American and Ballroom Dance Society (BULABDS). I joined in my final year, having danced before and never competed. And though I've been back since and it's always fantastic, there was nothing quite like the first time I danced in the Inter Varsity Dance Competition at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. It was an amazing experience and I loved every second of it.’

Laura Jones (BA 2003) said: ‘Being a member of the hot air ballooning club gave me an amazing first time experience, floating serenely above picturesque Avon countryside. I also really appreciated the inspirational teaching, discussions and the community of the Christian Union.’

Raymond Nash (BA 1960) said: ‘I ran with spectacular lack of success for president of the Students Union. But among other societies, I was a co-organiser of, and participant in, the first ever 24 hour pedal car race, a Rag Week stunt that went on to be an annual event for many years. It was I that managed to get Triang Ltd to give us 6 of the 8 cars used for the race.’

Jean Wyatt (née Morley) (MB ChB 1960) said: ‘A few months before I came to Bristol University, I had made a decision to be a committed Christian, so one of the first things I did when I came to Bristol was to join the Christian Union. I am so glad that I did this, as I made some life-long friends, and my understanding and experience of what it means to be a Christian grew during my University years, to become the foundation of my life ever since. Thank you - University of Bristol Christian Union!’


Further information

What's your favourite memory? Let us know as we'd love to hear from you. Thank you to everyone who sent us their suggestions so far, we're sorry we couldn't feature them all.