Monthly Archives: November 2015

Young Alumni Group Celebrates

Our Young Alumni Group met on Thursday 26th December at Davy’s Wine Bar, Holborn to celebrate their huge fundraising achievements over the past 4 years.  The group reminisced on past events, fundraising challenges and socials while looking to the future and planning their trip back to Kent for the opening of the new Law Clinic in 2016.

Natalie Salunke, Chair of the Young Alumni Group, Professor John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Kent Law Clinic and Anna Pollard, Campaigns Manager all gave speeches to thank the group for their commitment and dedication to the Campaign; these thanks extend to everyone who has supported YAG and those who were unable to attend the evenings gathering.

With a combined target, the Young Alumni Group (YAG) and Kent Law Campaign Student Groups (KLCSG) have so far raised a staggering £66,069.56 (including Gift Aid and the University Match). This year’s KLCSG has a healthy fundraising target to which they are excited about achieving. Money raised through KLCSG activities and events will be added to the overall YAG and KLCSG total which we hope to announce during summer 2016.

There has been no limit to the fundraising efforts of our alumni and students, they have taken part and organised activities and events such as sponsored walks, runs and marathons, jumping out of planes, abseiling off buildings, organising swanky balls, dressing up as Super Heroes and Santa’s, swimming in open water, to name but a few.

Words cannot express our gratitude to all those who have supported, fundraised, volunteered, took part, attended or even cheered YAG events and challenges since 2012. Every single person should be proud of the role they have played towards raising such a fantastic fundraising total.

Kent Law Campaign Season’s Greetings cards on sale now!

This year the Kent Law Campaign Student Group (KLCSG) will be selling Season’s Greetings cards kindly sponsored by The Headley Pitt Charitable Trust. This year the students have carefully selected popular winter images courtesy of Jim Higham from our Information Services department. There are several designs to choose from which will be available to buy at regular stalls held by the KLCSG on campus, please note stock is limited and is expected to sell out fast!

The KLCSG are selling packs of 10 cards for £3.50 or 3 packs for £9. Every penny made through this initiative will go towards the Campaign and be matched pound for pound by the University.

Keep an eye on our Campaign Twitter feed for information of when the students will be selling cards on campus.

The KLCSG would like to thank The Headley Pitt Charitable Trust for their generosity in sponsoring the cards this year and for their continuous support towards the Kent Law Campaign.

‘Being a successful writer is not all about publishing books’, Amanda Thomas (Eliot, 1979)

Amanda Thomas (Eliot, 1979), who graduated from Kent in 1983 with a BA (Hons) in Italian, is a non-fiction author and journalist based in Hertfordshire. Her latest book Cholera: The Victorian Plague, which took two years to research and write, has just been published by Pen and Swords Books, and explores the story of the disease that devastated Victorian Britain and brought about major changes in sanitation and society.

‘I have a fanatical love of history, and always loved language, literature and words. I have written stories since I was a very small child – I even produced my own newspaper at one stage!’ says Amanda.

Upon graduating from Kent, Amanda’s experience of working as Features Editor on the University newspaper Incant enabled her to secure her first job with a small, specialist magazine publisher in London.

Three years later, having obtained a position in a mainstream magazine publishing house, she decided to take a side-step and began work with a PR company that specialised in television and music, and was involved in the launch of satellite television in the 1980s.

After becoming a mother, Amanda joined history societies locally and in the Medway Towns in Kent where she was born, and was asked to create a journal to support the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre in Strood. ‘It was as Editor of The Clock Tower that I began to establish myself in the heritage sector, commissioning and writing articles and getting to know people. I wrote – and networked – prolifically’ explains Amanda. ‘But it was only when a distant cousin asked me why some members of our family had disappeared in Lambeth in the late 1840s that I became interested in the cholera epidemics of the 19th century.’

Following an article in The Clock Tower, Amanda was commissioned by the American publisher McFarland to write the book The Lambeth Cholera Outbreak of 1848-1849 (2010). ‘The publication of the Lambeth book created a lot of opportunities’ says Amanda. ‘I worked on a programme in Series Ten of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? and The Flying Archaeologist on BBC4, in which I also appeared. I continued writing about 19th century social history, including a piece for Your Family History magazine on the Lambeth cholera outbreak for the publishers Pen and Sword. Following this, their book division commissioned me to write Cholera: The Victorian Plague, which was published in September this year.’

Amanda has since agreed to write further titles for Pen and Sword, including a book called The Non-Conformist Revolution, which will explore dissenting entrepreneurs in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Amanda believes her work in PR has greatly benefited her career as an author. ’Being a successful writer is not all about publishing books. There are very many careers where a good writer can use their skills. Journalism is the obvious one, but it is important not to overlook jobs such as PR where the ability to write clearly and well is essential. Best-selling, high-earning writers are rare, and if you are lucky enough to have a book published it helps to have networking and marketing skills which equal your ability to write’ she explains. ‘I am also fortunate that my husband, David (Rutherford, 1978), supports me – he also patiently listens to my rants on things like infectious disease and social injustice!’

The best piece of advice Amanda has ever been given was by Willie Landels, the Editor of Harpers and Queen magazine in the 1970s. ‘When I was at school I wrote to him asking how I could become a journalist and he kindly invited me to his office in London’ explains Amanda. ‘His advice was to “Never stop writing,” though I would add to that – take every opportunity and never lose sight of your dream.’

Amanda will be signing copies of Cholera: The Victorian Plague at Rose Lane Waterstones in Canterbury on Saturday 28 November 2015 from 11.00.

Support the Tandem Men!

In the Spring of 2016, George Agate (Eliot, 2011) and John Whybrow (Eliot, 2011) will attempt to become the first team to circumnavigate the world by tandem bicycle. Starting in Canterbury, their journey will cover 18,000 miles, and will pass through a pair of antipodes, cross six continents and 30 countries, before finally returning back to where the journey started in Canterbury, with every mile of the ride being unsupported.

The pair thought up the idea whilst at Kent. ‘It started off with watching John Bishop’s Australia, then reading Mark Beaumont’s The Man Who Cycled The World’ explains George. ‘We then googled to see where the world record stood, and when we noticed that no one had completed the challenge by tandem, we decided to give it a bash. The snowball effect took place, powered by a pint or two along the way and here we are, just over six months to go!’
‘We’ve always wanted to travel together and travelling huge distances by human power alone has been something we’ve been interested in for a while now’ adds John.

Having graduated in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) in Physics, George has pursued a variety of work, from labouring on building sites to interning in Kuala Lumpur. ‘I didn’t know what I wanted to do career wise when I left Kent, and I still don’t, but that’s the exciting bit. I think graduates often get brainwashed into the mind-set that University is a stepping-stone towards the elusive graduate scheme and too many intelligent and exciting students fall into that trap. You can make much more of an impact in life if you take the risk and utilise your education’ says George.

John, who graduated in July 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Politics, has been planning and training for the expedition alongside working full-time as a manager at the restaurant he waited at as a student. ‘I love working in such a fast paced environment and so far the experience has been invaluable’ he explains. ‘I’ve always had a passion for food and dining and would love to have my own restaurant one day, this therefore seemed like the most logical way to gain experience within the industry. My degree in politics may not have shaped my career path to this point, but it may well be something that I come back to later in life. The most exciting aspect of life to me is the not-knowing. The prospect of not even knowing what country I’ll be living in in five years’ time is exhilarating to me. ‘

The friends, who were both heavily involved in sport during their time at Kent, believe one of the toughest parts of the challenge will be completing a 90 mile stretch of straight road in South Australia in a day. ‘One day’s cycling on a dead-straight highway, with no deviations or changes of scenery, is really going to test our mental strength and our friendship!’ says George.’ Among the many countries that they will travel through, the pair is most looking forward to visiting Iran and Central America, and to experiencing the culinary delights of the places they visit. ‘I’ll be keeping a diary of every new recipe we discover!’ says John.

As well as achieving the record for becoming the first team to circumnavigate the world on a tandem, George and John also hope to encourage people to get outdoors. ‘If our trip inspires just one person to get outdoors and see the world, I’ll count it as a success’ says John. ‘It’s a journey of discovery, to see how the rest of the world lives and survives.’

The pair is looking forward to the support of the Kent community throughout the trip. ‘We’d love to meet fellow alumni along the way!’ says George. John is also hopeful that they may be able to gain valuable advice from others who have taken on similar challenges ‘We’re always open to a spare hand here or there, so if anyone has any expertise or knowledge that they would like to share with us, please get in touch!’

Follow George and John on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they embark on their adventure! If you would like to sponsor the Tandem Men along their epic bike ride, or if you would like to meet them along the way and show your support, please contact