People who made Keele

"Harold started working for the University in 1950, at first as one of the University bus drivers. He then transferred to be Caretaker in Horwood Hall for many years with his wife Margaret being a domestic supervisor. They are given a mention (in my view, too brief) in John Kolbert's book. Harold was for many years a Churchwarden at Keele Church. One of his sons, Peter, became a Councillor on Newcastle Borough Council."

Malcolm Clarke (1969)

"It is with sadness that I report the death of Harold Whieldon, aged 93. It was before my time, but older pioneers may remember Harold as the original University bus driver in the very early days of UCNS. Later he became the Horwood caretaker and his wife Margaret was a domestic supervisor. Generations of students will remember their kindness and generosity, with their bungalow in Horwood being "open house". They loved students, and it was reciprocated. With no disrespect to the wardens and resident tutors of those days, I think Margaret and Harold dispensed more pastoral care and practical help to students than any of them. Whether you needed help in overcoming a broken relationship, loneliness, exam worries or you just wanted a chat, Margaret and Harold were always there with a cup of tea and a slice of toast (or maybe a pint at the bar in Harold's case), support and good advice, and often a good laugh. Harold lost his job in the early 70s as a tragic by-product of "troubles" and students past and present raised a very generous sum as a farewell gift. Margaret sadly died in 1980. The row of trees on the edge of the University grounds opposite Keele church, where Harold was a Church warden, were planted in her memory. Harold re-married and is survived by Mavis, his two sons Tony and Peter, who many of us will remember from the bungalow, and 11 grandchildren and step-grandchildren. He had the rare distinction of having two happy marriages each of over 30 years. Lesley, my wife, and I attended Harold's funeral. We felt we were representing generations of Keele students from the first twenty-plus years of the University, who had reason to be grateful to Harold and would I'm sure be pleased to know that someone was there to say thanks and farewell on their behalf"

Malcolm Clarke (1969)

"A generous spirit, of good socialist principles and with a willingness to help whenever he could. Would that the world contained more like him."

John Samuel (1964)

"Thank you for letting us know about the death of Harold Whieldon. It was amazing how it touched me to be reminded again of the kindness and helpfulness of Margaret and Harold when they were in their bungalow in Horwood. It speaks volumes when people fondly and respectfully remember those who featured in their lives over 45 years ago. I remember their kindness to me particularly when I missed my graduation ceremony due to an attack of mumps. If I remember rightly, when my husband and I revisited Keele a bit later, we stayed with them and they gave up their own bedroom, at some significant inconvenience to themselves, for us. I'm so glad to feel that former students were represented in some way at Harold's funeral."

Hazel Miles (Woolston) (1967)

"Thank you for letting us know of the Harold's demise and for representing us and our generation and year at his funeral. We remember him well from the combined undergraduate time we spent at Keele (1950-1955), although we had no contact with him after our return from distant lands in 1967; to us as undergraduates he was unique and quietly invaluable in those difficult early days; he will stay with us and our memories, to be sure."

Ed Derbyshire (1954) and Maryon Derbyshire (Lloyd) (1955)

"I also was deeply fond of Harold, Margaret, and the family. I knew them from Keele Parish Church as well, where I used to sing in the choir, and sometimes served for the old priest. I always stop by Margaret's grave when I go to visit Donald and Dorothy Nicholl's grave. I am so glad you will be representing me and so many other people at Harold's funeral"

Daniel Joseph (1971)

"Well done, Malcolm, for sharing this sad news and for representing past students. i remember Harold and Margaret well - and as you say, they were kindness itself."

David Shufflebotham (1963)

"I remember Harold and Margaret well. Thank you to you and Lesley for being there for all of us at his funeral."

Tessa Harding (Phillips) (1966)

"My parents were living in the USA for most of my time at Keele Margaret and Harold had an ever open door for me and I remember them both with great fondness"

Sue Gil (Devons) (1963)

"I too remember Margaret and Harold well. They were kindness itself, even to the extent of looking after and indeed putting up my mother the night of the ball. My mother never forgot that, nor did I."

Lily M Segerman-Peck (1965)

"There were so many acts of kindness by Harold and Margaret. I can remember Margaret buying a pair of wellies for me when I was caught out by the sudden onset of my first Keele winter. On the night before the Graduation in 1969 Harold and Margaret welcomed my Mother and myself into their home to stay. Later on, a colleague in Devon remembered someone I clearly identified as Harold guiding him to his accommodation on a dark night when he was attending a conference. Harold was so proud of Keele. They were a wonderful couple."

Margaret Peat (1969)

"Miss Rolfe was one of the earliest Domestic Bursars at Keele. She came in for a lot of criticism about the standard of the food provided and was supposed to have said "I am doing my best ' which became a call Miss Rolfe is doing her best". To be fair, it must have been a very difficult time, rationing was hardly over and there was very little variation in the food. In 1955/6 the complaints grew louder, the Students Union was involved, and John Hodgkinson, the Registrar, took time to set up the Refectory Liaison Committee. It included Miss Rolfe, and the Vice-President of the SU. It was a lesson to sit on this committee and see how peace and harmony could be effected by the gentle but clever drawing out of people, watching J F N H chair a meeting was a joy, the craft of getting agreement between warring groups and leaving all feeling that they had been heard was well demonstrated. A comments and suggestions box appeared."

Pauline Hanna (Jones) (1959)

"I wasn't a student at Keele although my husband was back in the 60's. I worked as a secretary to Miss Eileen Rolfe who was the Domestic Bursar and lived in Keele Hall. We organised all the conferences that came to Keele during the vacations. Summer vac was particularly hectic with up to 60 conferences coming and going. I had to organise rooms, meals, conference halls etc. and I really enjoyed the job. It was like being in control of a huge hotel but with much nicer surroundings. Our offices were in Lindsay together with the Catering Department. I think there were only about 1200 students when Don attended. We made lifelong friends even if a few students took a while to accept me - I was "establishment" which I thought was utterly ridiculous. I still consider my job with Miss Rolfe as my favourite. I had my qualifications but working for her was like doing an apprenticeship - she liked perfection and it served me well throughout my working life. Most people were rather afraid or in awe of her but she was so kind to me. For my first Ball and for all subsequent Balls she lent me her pearls. When I left she bought me a beautiful pearl necklace. When Don and I got engaged in 1966 (P1 year) she held a sherry party for us in Keele Hall. She also attended our wedding which was the Saturday following Don's graduation. We were mad - Don had never worked but we didn't want to wait any longer. I was presented to the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret when the new Chapel was opened. Our offices were at that time in a hut opposite the Chapel site. Miss Rolfe organised all the Royal visits and I was in charge of the guest rooms in Keele Hall. I have nothing but the greatest of memories of our time at Keele."

Lesley Smith and Don Smith (1968)

"There were other older students at Keele who had gained entry from adult education colleges, especially from Birmingham. I seem to remember also a former docker?"

Martin Tunnicliffe (1956)

"Was that the docker Dennis Delay? He graduated in 1959 to a roar of applause and still lives in London."


Photo below: Denis Delay outside a Keele "Hut" by Ticker Hayhurst

denis-delay-outside "Dennis Delay (1959) was a great character during his time at Keele. I knew him because we belonged to the UNSA (United Nations Student Association). Some confusion occurred because Dennis decided that the title was not sufficiently dynamic to attract members; he wanted 'something powerful like Strontium'! So Strontium it became. Unfortunately this was when the embryo CND movement was hoping to recruit University members and I, as secretary, received many communications. I duly placed them in prominent places on the notice board, and wrote to CND explaining the confusion. There were no takers for CND for a long time which perhaps explains why Keele was rather late in forming a group. Dennis had many cuttings from newspapers decorating his room 'Delay for the Queen Mother' - 'Delay causes chaos at London Airport', were two that I remember. Our Strontium Society won the rag float competition in 1958 with Glenda Lubelsky and Oliver painted blue, dressed scantily in sacks as ancient Britons. C V Wedgewood judged the competition and was perhaps biased by our historical theme. I can remember returning something I had borrowed from Mary Wilson afterwards, forgetting that my face was painted bright blue. She appeared with her niece's two year old in her arms; he promptly screamed and went into convulsions. Dennis and I also hitch hiked in the Christmas holidays in snow along the A5 to Libby Trevelyan's cottage near Machynlleth. Dennis had never hitched before and decided that the best way was to give the drivers a determined look. As he had just shaved his head and was quite a fearsome sight, we had no success so I had to ask him to hide in a hedge until I got the lift, and then to produce him when someone stopped. Many miles of this journey were done on the open back of a truck, looking at the frozen countryside."

Sheila Everard (1961)

delay-rag "I too remember Dennis with considerable affection - he is a great character. Sometime in the early 60s a group of us including Dennis Delay, Ticker Hayhurst (1960) and Tony Powell (1959) were somehow 'invited' to a party in the Dorchester suite of Feisal al-Mazidi (1959). Dennis (like most of us) was fascinated by the bell-pushes in the bathroom: one was marked 'chambermaid'! Guess who wanted to push it to see what happened? Dennis had a great world view: brains were good as long as they thought appropriately (i.e. socialist). I'm afraid he thought me irredeemably Tory but we were for many years good friends. That was Keele of course: I was once called a Fascist swine after a SU debate on South Africa and the question of scholarships: it took me some time and several pints to work out that this was actually a compliment to the consistency of my views."

Brian 'Ned' Lusher (1960)

"Ned, I think you may be wrong about that party in the Dorchester. As I remember it, Harry Wynn who did the bell pushing while lying fully clothed in the bath. Harry was about 7ft tall but the bath was twice his size. Denis wasn't a National Serviceman, he was called up towards the end of the War and was sent to occupied Germany. He was in the Ack Ack or Home Guard from the age of 16, right in the thick of the blitz."

Ticker Hayhurst (1960)

Photo above: Ticker Hayhurst furthest left, Denis Delay third from left.

"Dennis Delay brought so much colour and originality to our lives at Keele. I also remember the famous party in Feisal's suite at the Dorchester and Dennis and Harry were there together with a substantial part of the Keele population. I think I probably went with Joanna Jellinek (1961), Joan Squires and Dawn Meadows."

Eden Davies (Bird) (1961)

"Joscelyn Williams passed away in 2013 aged 89. She lived in the lodge half way down the road to Keele Village with her husband who was one of the good maintenance men who looked after, amongst other things, the boilers that kept the huts heated. They brought up a family there who went on to University. Many may remember their kindness. Neither academic staff or undergraduate, they were as much a part of the Keele community as any."

Pauline Hanna