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College days a feast of memories for catering students

By Toby Neal | Features | Published:

A group of Shropshire catering students from over 40 years ago are planning to get back together as they hit 60.

"We were all at Radbrook catering college in Shrewsbury from 1977 to 1979," said Colin Pound of Ketley.

"When we left we said we would meet up in 20 years or whatever and see how everybody was getting on. Twenty years went past, then 30 years went past. During lockdown I have spoken to one or two of them through Facebook and managed to track down some others.

"We are turning 60 this year and want to do something. We were training as chefs and for entry into hotel and catering management and there were about 15 of us in our group. We all took our exams and then left.

"Our group took over the Long Mynd Hotel at Church Stretton for a month as part of our training."

Colin, who turns 60 in October, says the plan is initially to get back in touch for a chat, and then perhaps a meal.

"We're trying to get hold of those who were with us training at Radbrook. The girls have proved difficult to trace because they have changed their maiden names."

A Facebook page has been set up called Radbrook Revisited and Colin can be contacted at colintpound@uwclub.net by email.

The course was City & Guilds in Hotel Catering & Management and Colin has some poor quality newspaper cuttings as reminders of the group.

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Colin said: "We are still trying to locate Tina Hughes from Upton Magna, Sue Kelly from Trench, Karen Dalton, from Telford, Carol Redworth, from Shrewsbury, Janet Lupton, (now Downes), last known in Hemel Hempstead, Janet Evans, Shrewsbury, Gillian Shore, Whitchurch area, Ian Horsefield, Sandra Jones, Jeremy Blakeley, all from High Ercall, Joanna Phillips and Jane Crofts from Church Stretton, Helen Smith and Kay Dixon from Oakengates, and others with a connection to this year group, and maybe some of our tutors are still out there. It would be good to catch up with them as well.

"We all started at Radbrook catering college in September 1977 as a step into a career in catering. We were 17 and 18 year olds all hoping to become qualified chefs, some to find their fortune in starting their own business, others to maybe open doors to travel and work, to get a qualified trade, or even become famous.

"The course not only offered practical tuition in cookery, catering theory, bar and waiters skills, and hotel management, it also gave us the opportunity to see what it was like to work in hotels, kitchens, and to visit other cultures, where we would gain work experience in placements, at hotels during training.

"At the beginning of the second year, 1978, a group of us headed off to France for a cultural tour of Bordeaux, and other wine regions of France.

"My work placement was in Llandrindod Wells at The Metropole Hotel, along with Peter Teal."

As for his own career, he went to work as a commis chef in Surrey but the hotel was bought out leading to him returning to Shropshire and getting a job with the Royal Mail as a postman. He now works in the motor trade doing vehicle deliveries.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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