Medical Graduates of 1962
1962 Year Medical Reunion
Thanks entirely to the hard work and fantastic organisational abilities of Tony Sethi, we have had three reunions since 1997. In 2000 we met in Gourock: we had our 40-year reunion in Sutton Coldfield, and we met again in October 2004 at Hatton Court Hotel, in the Cotswolds, near Gloucester. They have all been hugely successful, and Tony has already organised the next one in 2006 at the Clumber Hotel near Sherwood Forest.
Thirty nine graduates made the trip, 36 of whom managed to get on to the official photograph – John Barker, Richard Thomas and John Whallett had pressing domestic responsibilities, so couldn’t stay for it. They missed a lot of fun on the final evening, as the guest speaker was Bernie ShevIin (University of Wales, 1968), a GP colleague of Tony’s. Bernie is a Post-Graduate tutor in North Staffs. He is the funniest guest speaker we have ever had, and we recommend him to other years. Medical meetings at Stoke with both Tony and Bernie on song must be a hoot. We hear the lunchtime meetings are a sell-out. Even the professors and consultants come.
Over the years we have collected a few regular waifs and strays. Ann Triscott (1961) has been a very welcome regular for the last ten years or so, and we must be the only year with our own padre, in the shape of Frank Longbottom. He was the chaplain in Len Liebling’s hospital, and is now an honorary 1962 graduate. His grace before meals is as special as his golf. He and Tom (Tig) Smith (your reporter) have been partners against Tony Sethi and Don Moyes in the last four reunions, and we marked 2004 with our first win. Long may that continue. Peter Lea also brought along Phil Judd, ex-England Rugby captain and his wife Sylvia. Phil and Sylvia amazingly expressed a wish to come to the next one: we are looking forward to meeting them again. We were also thrilled to have David Evans and his wife Margot with us. Dave sadly didn’t get through into the clinical years, but he was one of the famous 24 who sailed the Norfolk Broads after Second MB (and who got into quite spectacular trouble). We have special memories of our times with him. Happily he has had a very successful time in the pharmaceutical industry.
The 2004 reunion lasted from Thursday October 7th to Sunday October 10th. For a bunch of 65-year olds, that still wasn’t long enough for most of us. The twenty or so golf nuts got there early, to play at Brickhampton. The others arrived throughout the day, to travel by coach in the evening to the Foxcote Inn, where we ate and drank well. The second day was spent at the Edward Jenner museum and Berkeley Castle, which opened specially just for us – Tony’s influence holds sway far beyond Stoke. The Medieval theme continued in the evening with a pig roast served by comely wenches and strapping squires, and was followed by a sing-song round Tony’s portable piano. With Tony playing and John Anderson leading the singing, and the rest of us sitting around the edges of the room with song sheets in our hands, it was a perfect preview of our evenings in our various old folks’ homes 20 years from now.
Saturday morning was organised by Tony Foister and John Westwood. Around forty of us signed up for walks over part of the Cotswold Way, John’s smaller group taking in three miles and Tony’s six. They had carefully reconnoitred the walks beforehand, but had not reckoned on one angry householder through whose garden the maps clearly said we had the right of way. She was diffident to our first group, but those on the longer walk had split into three ‘packs’. So with the appearance of each batch of pre-senile medics she became progressively more heated. By the time we tail-end Charlies (Tony and Maureen Foister, Irvine and Barbara Crewe, Helga Houghton, Barbara Budd, Ann Triscott and Tom Smith) arrived on the scene, smoke was issuing from her ears and fire from her nostrils. Nevertheless our feigned concern for Barbara Budd’s knee, usually a thing of great beauty but apparently subject to acute rambler’s arthritis, overcame the lady householder’s strident request for us to take a long detour. We strode through her garden path and onwards up a steep hill. Amazingly a little Famous Grouse (supplied by the year’s token Scot – Tom Smith) while walking up that hill immediately cured the knee, and did likewise for the near terminal thirst of the rest of the walkers. Famous Grouse has been added to the formularies of those GPs in the year who are still practising (and to the daily diet of those who aren’t).
All ended well at the local pub, where walkers and non-walkers alike enjoyed an open air lunch in brilliant sunshine. In the afternoon, most people watched England beat Wales in a European Cup football match to the delight of everyone except the year’s token Welshman, Harry Barnard, and the above-mentioned token Scotsman. We seem to be good at organising reunions at times of international matches. At our 40th reunion in 2002, the Medical School staff arranged for us all to watch the England v Denmark World Cup game on the big screen in the new lecture hall. Changed days – we can’t imagine Charlie Smout doing that.
That evening we had the group photographs before the formal dinner, on the completely correct assumption that it would be impossible to organise one that was in any way respectable afterwards. We owe the pictures to our year’s official and expert photographer, Andy Donovan, whose work over the last forty years is cherished by everyone. He hasn’t yet got round to digital, but he is a conservative sort of guy. We don’t expect digital next time either, Andy.
Saturday night, as always, merged imperceptibly into Sunday morning, some people becoming much more imperceptible than others. It would be wrong to pick out those who stayed up longest, but I’ll do it anyway. They included Kyrie Kyriakou, anaesthetist to the rich and famous, Chris Mugglestone, our favourite entrepreneur and alleged multi-millionaire (we aren’t sure who alleges it – perhaps the Inland Revenue), Len Liebling and his side-kick Frank Longbottom (Mrs L had long retired to bed), and Nick Woodward (Jo had given up earlier, too). My memory’s a bit hazy about the others, in fact about most of that night, but I’m fairly certain Mary Fay (née McGovern) stayed up far too long, too. She (as do all our ladies) still attracts the men like moths around a candle.
The next day we left in dribs and drabs, the men being mostly the drabs – we of course would never describe our ladies in such a way. Tony Deans and John Anderson returned to Canada, Don Moyes to Australia, Guy Clendinnen to Spain, and Janusz Marczak to Wolverhampton. Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, Janusz.
If any 1962 graduates reading this haven’t been in contact for a while and would like to return to the fold, contact us here at the Sands Cox Charity. We would be very happy to hear from you. Come and join us – before it’s too late!
There is one sad bit of news. We heard earlier this summer that Joe Scott, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, died of a massive heart attack. Joe graduated with us in 1962 as Josef Srozinski, but changed his name to Scott when he emigrated, presumably because it was easier to spell. He was a really lovely man, gentle and humorous. He and his wife Christine came to almost all of our reunions, despite the distance involved. We missed them very much this year.
1962 – 48th Year Reunion
A 1962 Birmingham medics reunion is indeed an event endeared by all those who were at Birmingham medical school between 1957 – 1962. Our 30th Reunion was marked by a Thirty Year Reunion Dinner at University Staff House on 25th September 1992. It was following this that radical change took place to invigorate the 1962 caucus.
Since then we had met every 5 years but later changed to every two years on account of aging, frailty and ill health. We have been to Canada, where ten or so 1962 Graduates had emigrated. John Anderson and his Canadian Team assisted by Tony Sethi had organised an excellent programme for Sept/October 1997 Reunion. Following this about 14 Graduates with their partners had extended their trip to Canada by a further two weeks driving through the Rockies to Vancouver.
The last 4 Reunions have met every two years. Following our 46th Reunion in Stratford-upon-Avon, organised by Nick Woodward, I, together with Irvine Crème and Keith Prowse agreed to host the 48th which was held at Shrigley Hall Hotel, Golf & Country Club, Pott Shrigley, Near Macclesfield, a majestic setting in Cheshire. 16 Graduates and partners took part in PIGS Golf Tournament on Friday 10th Sept. morning organised by Tony Sethi. There was another group playing that day who were running late and when they arrived on the first Tee, Tony Deans thought they were part of our group and asked them if they were “PIGS” (an organisation Tony runs for golf outings for mainly Doctors). They looked horrified at this question as they were in fact, Policemen!! Maureen and Tony Foister led the walk for 10 other graduates and their partners through Lyme Park. There was an informal dinner which Keith Harding and Carol Starkie attended and this was followed by talk on history through middle ages about Shrigley Hall.
Saturday, 11th September morning and afternoon were free for attendees to visit various places of interest in the vicinity or to do what they pleased. The Black‑Tie Reunion Dinner in the evening was preceded by Group photographs and entertainment was provided by The Casablanca Steps. Pam Jarvis was heard to remark “What an interesting bunch I have on this table”! I had decided to have the table seating at random thus giving the opportunity to mix with folks you did not know too well whilst training. Maureen and Tony Foister and a few others showed us how the Charleston is done. New friendships were forged and those who had never attended before like Tony Jones, I hope enjoyed the weekend.
Our 50th Reunion, the organisation which is in the very capable hands of Tony Sethi, is set for Sept, 29th 2012. I have been informed that many more are likely to attend the 50th Reunion than 33 who attended the 48th. A few who were going to attend could not due to ill health or other commitments.
Satish Mehta MBE
1962 Graduates Reunion September 2014
The year of 1962 graduated 52 years ago, yet we were dancing around the floor as if we were still in our sixties, which are long past. Forty one spouses and partners came, and a dozen more apologised for their absence, mostly because of the frailties of our age. That leaves around 60 survivors of the 85 graduates.
The 20 or so golfers and walkers gathered on Thursday evening at the Moat House Hotel in Acton Trussell, south of Stafford, where we enjoyed a curry dinner – not the best preparation for three or four hours of outdoor exercise the following morning, but there were no casualties. We were joined by the others for a semi-formal dinner on the Friday, at which John Hotowka, an absolutely amazing magician, entertained us at our tables and on stage. Among other illusions he passed a solid brick through one of our number’s head, proving what most had suspected for many years that his cranium was empty of meaningful brain tissue. We thoroughly recommend the hotel and its catering to any other years contemplating a reunion.
The next day was free for colleagues to see the sights of Staffordshire, but many of us were happy to relax and enjoy old friendships. The atmosphere livened up in the evening with the official photograph, then Tony Sethi’s Swinging Sixties Band to entertain us. Andy Donovan, as is our tradition, can do wonders with a camera – even pasting into the official picture snaps of latecomers (mea culpa) who were too dozy to turn up on time. He is much appreciated for doing so.
Tony, equally amazing, organised the whole reunion, was MC, keyboard player and singer of his own original (and scurrilous) text to the tune of ‘Those were the days, my friend’. His band members were almost as old as their audience: but their energy was boundless – in the sense that they couldn’t manage a bound any more. The dancing went on into the early hours: even 75-plus ladies and gentlemen can still shake their hips and bend their knees, mainly thanks to their orthopaedic surgeons.
Eric Spicer flew in from New York with a recently broken neck. With C1 fused to C2 he managed to jive the night away with aplomb. John Anderson hobbled in from Ontario just weeks after knee surgery. We were delighted to see Pete Lea at the Saturday dinner: despite a series of problems with mobility he came in his wheelchair with Pam’s support. Len Liebling brought Liz Cowan (nee Gregg), who also needed help, and we were thrilled to see them both in good form.
Tony Foister organised the country walks. He has done this for many reunions now, and it is surprising how interesting he makes them, even without having a bag of clubs and little white balls to hit with them. But his highlight was his take on the Saturday night dress code. Asked to wear something pink, Tony topped up his gear with a pink hair dye that did wash out by the next morning.
Officially, this was the last reunion of the 1962 year. They started at 5-yearly intervals: more recently they have been two-yearly. Naturally we are now a remnant of what we were. We can’t expect Tony to continue to produce his magic, so in future we may meet in small gatherings. We all share the feeling that we were a special year, with so many lifelong friendships forged. We were told years ago that we were an experiment, picked not for academic brilliance but for character. A third of us failed our Finals, and had to resit at Christmastime – the largest ever failure rate. We are secretly rather proud of that reputation – there were no more ‘experimental years’ after us! So it is farewell, for the last time, from the 1962 graduates.