Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not Losing Touch. . .

Hi Folks
Long time no speak... well, not too long. Let's say just long enough.

I've had a couple of 'invitations' to join on-line contact/community databases of late (which of course I have done). You know, the friendsReunited sort of thing. There are a quite a few of these out there on the web; there's 'Bebo '(which incidentally our own student union, under-graduates and some alumni use), 'Where Are You Now '(WAYN), 'FaceBox' and 'MySpace' to name but a small few.

It's useful to know that many people are already signed-up to these communities when you are out there searching for old friends. I'll try and post up as many as I know of onto the Useful Links section of the BLOG. In most cases you need to register before you can use the search services and/or complete a profile and upload photo's etc etc. Far as I know most if not all of them are free to use.

Anyhow I suppose what I'm really saying here is that just because we are spread around the place in regards to our people-networking that's still no excuse for our losing touch with each other.

And while I'm on that subject, don't forget to get the date for the Summer Reunion into your Diary NOW! It's July 6th to July 8th; Starts on the Friday evening and runs through to the Sunday. We know it's going to be even better than last year and the more of you come the better still! We've got some good stuff lined up and are about on the verge of posting up a summary of the itinery on the web page. Keep checking back and it should appear in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Valerie's Story

I received an email from Valerie Dewhurst this morning. Valerie was one of my cohort of graduands at this years ceremony in October.

She took the time to write down her story and wondered if anyone else in the community would be interested in reading it. It was a real pleasure to read in her own words how she felt about what she had achieved and the struggles she went through to gain her degree. I could feel her sense of pride as I read what she had written. "Many times along the way I almost gave up through different pressures" says Valerie but "since graduating I have never looked back and have gone from strength to strength." As she say's her story "has a happy ending..." She can scarcely believe how fast the time has gone and "...just what I have achieved in such a short time."

Despite her initial reticence Valerie bit-the-bullet and decided to share her story with us all. You can find it in it's entirety posted up on the friends@hope community site for all to read. Use the link in the title of this post to login to friends. . .

Valerie is now hard at work on Part Two of her saga, and I for one am eagerly awaiting the outcome of her labours. . .

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Big Thankyou!

Just thought I would take the time to say a very big "thankyou!" to all of you who since receiving the Winter Newsletter have taken the time to fill in and return the Questionnaire we included in the pack. You maybe can't imagine but it feels so good to have people acknowledge our efforts. We all work very hard and that hard work will continue, and be undertaken willingly, thanks to the time and effort you yourselves take to feedback information to us.

I know that for many of you the efforts of the Development Team here at Hope are more or less invisible and that isn't of course your fault entirely but rest assured there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes trying to make this community a success and of benefit to all of us. By all means comment on what we are doing and make suggestions to either improve or add things and, don't be afraid to criticize what we do. Without that we cannot learn to do things better. In fact I openly invite you all to be as critical as you like!

On the subject of the Newsletter, incidentally, we have spent a lot of time and a fair amount of money trying to improve the quality of our database, especially email addresses and postal addresses. This is a very long a arduous process and in many ways will never in effect ever reach an end. I apologise 'profusely' in advance for any of our mailings that goes astray, go to the wrong address(es), or never arrive at all. Just let us know and we will fix the errors as soon as we can. We thankyou for your patience.

All the best


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Refreshed and back again...

Definitely refreshed!

Not so sure about the back again bit though. My body is here but...

Hope you all had a real nice holiday. I sure did. Last year, Christmas was a bit of a rush. I'd just come back from studying in the U.S. (Texas, Fort Worth) and there was little time to prepare for the festivities. Then it dawned on me that my 'ladz' (at least the two left in England - The other one's in Chicago and married now), were getting all grow'd up and that I didn't need to be quite so maticulous with the preparations . . . nor the amount of expenditure I put into the whole thing!

All in all, it turned out to be a really great Christmas despite the rush. This year though was even better. Despite the time that I had to prepare, I did everything at the last minute . . but trust me I didn't rush. I took it reeeaaal easy and enjoyed every minute of it. I love buying presents. There's nothin quite like the look on someone's face when you get just the right thing for them, or when you produce something totally strange and unexpected. My son Matthew bought me a DVD of every music video Peter Gabriel (one of my particular favourites - cerebral music apparantly, or so I'm told) has ever done. It was certainly a surprise, totally unexpected and bloomin marvelous t'boot!

Well you will be pleased to hear that I am officially a very 'sad' person. Off and on throughout the holiday I kept thinking back to my new job here in the Development Office (by the way it's official, I am now formally a member of the Development staff, after 'winning' the interview just before Christmas - Don't all cheer at once now will you!?). I think I've said it before but I really do love this work. After a lifetime of working, in effect to do nothing more than make others rich, it feels that at last I have hit upon something that has what I feel to be inherent value; You know, something just GOOD; Like, what could be more valuable than opening the human mind to learning and intellectual discovery and of developing at place wherein this can happen? I do believe that the more of a true community this place becomes the greater and more fulfilling will be that learning.

Forth Worth? Oh yes I remember it so well. The University was the hub of the area. Surrounded by businesses and enterprise as well as residential property. It was like everyone in the area had a stake in the University as an essential component of the life of the whole community. Do you believe it but as you approached the university from the outside you knew you were within its domain as far out as 3 or 4 miles before you got there! There were banners strung from lamposts, shops welcoming back the students, houses with placards on their lawns and a whole host of other 'signposts' guiding you inward towards the campus. Students travelled free on the buses and discounts galore were offered in the surrounding shops and other businesses and amenities in the immediate area. You gotta give it to the Americans (and Texans in particular) for all their faults they do know a bit about community and how to at least try and hold it all together.

This afternoon I am going to do (or begin to do) a survey of the area and find out what exists in the immediate vacinity of our own campus; Find out what there is out there to work with and at least begin to explore its possibilities. Who knows where it will lead? It's a beginning and its a process, and what better time to do it than at the beginning of a New Year. . .

Happy New Year Everyone, I hope it turns out to be a good one!