In celebration of the 60th Anniversary, Alumni Voices features some of your friendship memories from over the years at the University of York.
New Year Eve for students in The Deramore Arms aka ‘The Derry’ 1995
“New Year’s Eve in the ‘Derry’, Heslington village. It was a fancy dress competition night. Unfortunately few people got dressed up apart from me and my friend who had a ‘Bridget Jones moment’ by turning up as Patsy and Adina from Absolutely Fabulous. We lost to a guy dressed as a mummy. To be fair it must have taken hours to get all those bandages on. We are at the back on the left. Spot the Patsy beehive. Great memories of my time at York.”
– Catherine Dalby (was Wallis), 1997
Music Department and Derwent 1985 to 1989
“I remember we were all male students on the ground floor and everyone had a nickname. There was Big Mark, Little Mark, Olly, JJ, Plonker Paul, Chucky, Bill , Roger. I spent most of my time in the kitchen with that crowd or in the music department rehearsing for concerts. Also my 21st birthday which coincided with both a Pimm’s Promotion in Derwent Bar and a performance of Beethoven’s “Eroica”. Pimm’s and Beethoven. Not a good combination!”
Alcuin kitchen solves essay woes
“When an essay paper was released, me and my friend would meet at Alcuin kitchen and despair collectively (accompanied by the barbecue chicken sandwiches) before talking it through and making a plan.”
Malham Tarn Field Trip
“In June 1971 those of us studying Biology went to Malham Tarn Field Studies Centre for two weeks. The centre itself is a magnificent Georgian house with study facilities. I stayed in one of the cottages which I think was called ‘Hillary’s’. We had decent weather, spent much time outside and did a project in the final week around the tarn. We had Prof Williamson, Dr Brown, Andy Hodges and Martin Lewis on the course. After evening meal we returned to the laboratories, followed by socialising. Someone had a college disco system but no albums. I remember that I had three albums that I was taking home for the holiday, including ‘Hot Rats’ by Frank Zappa and ‘New Morning’ by Dylan; ‘Hot Rats’ got played a lot. Every other evening we went to the pub in Malham village. The lecturers were quite relaxed, as were the staff at the centre. It was a great two weeks.
– Andrew Scott, 1972
Celebrating Chinese New Year
“I celebrated Chinese New Year for the very first time with my flatmates. We had a barbecue outside our college and I was introduced to many authentic Chinese dishes and also learnt a lot about their cuisine and traditions. It was a day filled with laughter and fun.”
Best Dog a Gal Could Want
“I met an ex-partner at York whilst studying for my dual degree. We both moved down south where things sadly went sour – work was filling up every hole in my time that there was.
In any event, following an amicable and quick break-up, we decided that I should adopt our lovely little doggy called Derek. He reminded us both so much of our time together in Constantine.
I am now part of a loving poly-nucleus which started through work, and loving every minute.
Here’s to you Derek – you will forever be my little Constantine memento!”
– PCSO Skinster, 2017
Welsh Friend for Life
“I will never forget the first time I met my now life-long bestie – we sat across from each other in a law lecture. It was only when we got to the topic about devolved nations that we first noticed each other. We hit it off like no tomorrow! Since then, we have been best buds – even though he lives a long way away from me! We visit each other’s families during the holidays and while away the hours talking about everything from trains to football. On graduation day, we even swapped flags from our native countries – his dragon is still proudly hung up on my bedroom wall!
Big shout out to all of those I made friends with across the borders, seas and continents!
Go class of ’14!”
– Darling Onuwye, 2014
Friends from First Year
“I met my flatmate and coursemate, Ellie, in first year when we were in the same flat. We both went on to do a Year in Industry and then lived together again in final year through various lockdowns. We have met up around the UK in Birmingham, London and Nottingham. I love seeing how from doing the same course, our careers have gone in two different, exciting directions. Ellie now lives in London whilst I’m still loving being in York!”
– Aiko Burke, 2021
“I was in D Block on the ground floor in first year. Males were always segregated from females by floor in each block. Did not stop us going up in the early hours and raiding their fridges though! Every term there were promotions in the JCR, usually involving drinks like Pimm’s or vodka. Every lunchtime people would rush back from their departments to watch ‘Neighbours’ with Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue on the TV in ‘The Well’, which no longer exists. Evenings we spent in the bar or down The Derry or The Charles in Heslington. Friday was always a big pub crawl in York and we always went to the same ones. Chips and Fish as we staggered back too. Good times.”
– Neil P Fazackerley, 1988
RAG Annual Paris Hitchhike every February
“Every year we’d hitchhike in the coldest month from York to Paris in 24 hours. There’d always be a bunch of Rag Rats waiting at Notre Dame with advice, baguettes, and they’d get us to hot drinks. I’d hitch then help with the reception.
My most amazing trip was with Paul where a bloke in Calais took us out of his way all the way to Paris via the in construction channel tunnel!”
– Sean Triner, 2022
“On Halloween in my first year at University, me and my flatmates visited York and went on the famous Ghost Walk. It was such a great way to learn more about the City we’d moved to, whilst also having a lot of fun!”
From Pantomime Society to “Pinto-mime”
“We initially met via the Pantomime Society, where we were both members. I needed a place for my 2nd year of university and I didn’t have anyone to live with. I posted on a group on Facebook seeing if any rooms were available in a student house, and Amie reached out to me. I ended up looking at the house and agreeing to stay there for my second year – best decision I ever made.
Just living with her on Aldreth Grove in general were my favourite memories, she became a sister to me through all kinds of happenings. From taking me on some of the best nights out, to writing a pantomime together that was performed in the summer, and her consoling me when my heart got broken – she was always there. Every time I remember being sad or lost during that second year, her support is always an accompanying memory.
We also loved the pub close to our student house, which was The Winning Post. We actually created the idea to write our Pantomime there, lovingly nicknamed our “Pint-omime”.
Though I left on my year abroad the next year, we stayed in touch and went to Disneyland together for my 21st birthday.
Once I returned to the UK, we got a house together again as I finished my studies and she went into full-time work. It was a blast all over again, living with my best friend. We are still best of friends, I got married in October and she was my Maid of Honour. I could not have asked anyone else to take that position, it was meant for her.”
– Eleanor Holmes, 2020
“I was one of the event coordinators for ISA Global week. I remember the Roger Kirk Centre, the place I coordinated ‘Fiesta’ with food stalls from all over the world. The live performance/ after party still flashes in my mind.
In 2011 when my hometown was struck by the huge earthquake and tsunami, my Indonesian Bruneian friend helped me.
Apparently his grandfather was a hostage of the Japanese navy during WW2 and escaped to Brunei. Upon graduation, I had a job offer from a Japanese giant Industry and I asked him how he would feel if I worked for this industry that used to produce weapons and may have attacked both of his motherlands. He gave me his straight answer, ‘Never forget, but never mind’. Joining this industry, I saw so much racism and I whistleblowed them.
It’s been 10 years since then and I’m still on the way to getting my career back. No regrets whatsoever. I’m proud of how he and York shaped me.”
– Toshinori Kawata, 2012
Do you have friendship stories from your time at the University of York? We’d love to hear your memories of how you met your friends, how your friendship progressed over the years, places in York that hold special relevance to your friendships, travels you took around the world together.
We invite you to share your friendship memories via the Memory Map .