Leeds Medical School, Class of 1980

Reunion reports

Debra Newell

The pre-amble
  • Debra had a chat with John Thompson in 1998 about a possible twenty year medical school reunion.
  • The grapevine worked, and Jane Clark wrote July 1999 asking could she help.
  • Approaches were made to local venues, and Rudding Park came up with a good date, and cost.
  • Mike Beer said GO FOR IT!
  • Letters were sent to test the waters for level of interest, which thankfully was high!
Getting Closer!
  • There were multiple meetings at the Newells’, at which much time was wasted perusing the photograph of 1980, and reading the various notes and CV’s that had been coming in.
  • Simon used his all singing and dancing diary to work out the accounts, at which point Martin upgraded us to Moet and Chandon.
  • Emma Mack in the Alumni Office at the University did all the mailings.
  • Anna Wright gave lots of help with seating plan and nobly offered to buy the fruit for the Pimms the day before.
  • Liz Martin came screaming in two weeks before with promise of sponsorship for brochure, which we had almost given up on.
  • During the week of the reunion, Martin and Debra helped keep BT shares buoyant talking about every detail.
  • Most difficult task- getting the benches for the photograph (Simon).
  • Martin negotiated with Rudding Park over corkage, and sorted out all the drinks for both afternoon and evening, and with Leeds Traffic Department to have parking bays put out of action for the photograph.
  • Debra made a few trips to Rudding; to see the venue, to show the band the room, to finalise it all, to take seating plan, to do CV and photo display.
  • Events manager Angela was excellent.
The Event!

By Debra.. Simon and I arrived early along with Martin and Pat. It was nerve-racking! As the first people arrived, I gulped and thought to myself “What have I done? Do these people really want to meet up again?” It wasn’t long before the room was thronging, the atmosphere buzzing and the champagne flowing.

I personally found the photograph great fun, and the experience of visiting the old Anatomy Lecture Theatre together carried big emotional impact. Steve Straughan summed it up, I felt, when he described how alone he had felt as an 18 year old on our first day in there.

Memories of the evening.. chatting to lots of people, but not enough!, folk having their photos taken by the displays, lovely happy buzz as we sat down to dinner, and a sea of familiar faces, Ian Clegg giving spontaneous toast to The Class of 1980, lots of people who seemed to be enjoying it all, JT abandoning me on dance floor with flowers in hand ( thanks whoever got them), the table I had most worried about seating together, still chatting after everybody else was mixing up, final dance in big circle.

Thanks for your thanks. It was a privilege to arrange such a unique occasion.

Debra Newell, 8/7/00.

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