Butler Weekend

Launch Dinner

On the 3rd of June the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and members of the University Executive Committee joined College staff, students, alumni and community members for a celebration dinner to start the College’s Tenth Year Anniversary. The dinner started with a drinks reception, with Tessa Bailey playing the piano, and an unexpected twist when Adrian Simpson appeared in the mole suit to do his welcome speech and talk about his experience of Butler’s development in ten years. Guests then moved through to the Howlands to be welcomed by Master of Ceremonies, Matt Ricketts. Starters awaited guests on the table but they were unable to start until after Cheerleading performed an impressive stunt routine.


After the starter there were performances by Butler Troupe and Chamber Choir, as well as speeches about sports by Dan McElhone and about societies by Alex Naylor. The atmosphere in the hall while the main was served and eaten was very welcoming. Students spoke to external guests about all things Butler and showcased the community impeccably. After the main Rupert Maspero spoke of committees and volunteering at Butler, followed by a performance by AccaButler.

Whilst guests enjoyed their salted caramel brownies, Jazz Band performed a set that encouraged the friendly atmosphere to continue with feel-good music. Jazz Band was followed by the results of the   Silent Auction that was held during the dinner to raise funds for the expansion of study space. We managed to raise over £800 from the evening.

The dinner concluded with a speech from Hattie Pridmore, current JCR President, about her time at Butler. I can do her speech no justice so will have to quote her to express how moving her view of Butler is. She said ‘at Butler you will be looked after, but much more than that; you will be inspired to be yourself; you will be driven to achieve and inspire others and you will be surrounded by incredible and passionate people.’ To complete proceedings Adrian did the toast to Josephine Butler.  I believe that all people attending the dinner felt proud of Butler during the toast.


Thank you to everyone who attended the dinner and especially those who performed. There is no doubt in my eyes that it was a success and an excellent start to Butler College’s Tenth Year.

Butler Day

After the festivities of the Launch Dinner, Hattie and I had a large task to make sure Butler Day was special to mark Butler’s Tenth Year. I believe we achieved a Butler Day that successfully celebrated the College, but I am biased.

JoBo Day 2016 (47 of 318)

The Rio Carnival themed day started off with the set-up of the Curso de Assalto (Inflatables) on Milfield field and the Waltzers in the car park. The tigers performed some jaw dropping stunts and troupe impressed with a jazzy routine. Student performers, Tobey Grout, James Bowmer, Hannah Reed and Fran Nunn and Leonie Price and Rosie Bawn, took to the main stage throughout the early afternoon. Northern Lights were well received until they said JoBo Day instead of Butler Day, even after that they sounded amazing. A local drumming group impressed with their percussion skills.

Food was provided throughout the day by Fat Hippo, which apart from the long line went down very well with attendees. The Pimms and Sangria bar was also very popular. Jess Lythgow, the new Bar Steward, also got a special Tenth Year Edition ale to go behind the bar which sold well.

JoBo Day 2016 (15 of 318)

The highlight of the afternoon had to be the Let’s Circus performers.  The Afrikann Warriors performed gymnastics that meant their feet reached the top of the marquee and limboed under fire, Nat Lunatrick juggled on top of a seven foot unicycle and Miss Gracie did wonders with a lot of hula hoops.

At 7pm the atmosphere changed from a performance into a party. Mr and Mrs Butler saw Hannah Turner winning the crown, for the second year in a row, with Liam Jones as they wowed with a lip sync of ‘Man I feel like a Women.’ Solomon’s Code kicked off the evening entertainment in the bar. Let’s Circus were not finished though, putting on an incredible fire performance that made the drunken crowd ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ as they felt the heat. Miss Gracie even hula hooped with flaming hoops.


After the fire performance a Taylor Swift tribute took to the stage performing some tay tay classics that everyone sang along to finishing with the ultimate Taylor Swift song ‘Love Song’. The night finished with a DJ at 2am but the weekend was far from over with more activities planned for Sunday.

Societies Garden Party

Performances kicked off on Sunday with The Jukes with their set waking up everyone in College to make sure no one was under the illusion Butler Weekend was over. Societies took the stage during the afternoon to showcase Butler’s talent, including Jazz Band, Chamber Choir, STAB and AccaButler. Pudding Soc put on a bake sale to raise money for Grace House. Other societies made sure they were part of the day in some other way with films for Disney Soc and Marvel and DC Society, whilst Fem Soc put on a quiz and unicycle society did a taster session. To ease the hangover Scoops and Smiles provided ice creams during the day.


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Alumni Reunion in London 2nd April 2016

As the sun shone in London on the morning of 2nd April, Butler Angels made their way to London Wall to take part in an Angels Networking Event. From the 11th floor of the building Angels and attendees had a beautiful view of St Paul’s Cathedral. Whilst, as ever, students were not rushing to talk about their future careers, Angels and other alumni were able to mingle and discuss their time at Butler and their current career paths. The mixing of different Butler generations, from an alumnus who started in another college with hexagonal tendencies to the current JCR President, was an enlightening experience that I hope all who attended enjoyed.

At the same time, the Alumni Football team took on PwC. Lal Chadeesingh has kindly contributed to this blog on Butler’s victory:

On the 2nd of April the sun was shining on Butler Old Boys FC as they recorded their first victory as a fledgling club. Opposition was provided by an Alex Bailey captained PwC team, and Butler started nervously with the knowledge that some time had passed since these fine men had pulled on the famous red and white jersey. Nerves were eased in the opening five minutes when a crossfield ball from Nicolas Restrepo found Lal Chadeesingh in space to send the ball looping over the opposition keeper and into the back of the net. Butler then enjoyed an impressive period of possession in the opening 20 minutes with the years being rolled back to our glory days on dodgy MC pitch. Then came a spree of what must unfortunately be described as goals of the lowest quality. A mishit Matt Gillett cross hitting the bar and then Matthew Adams before stumbling over the line probably serving as the most embarrassing goal scored in Butler Old Boys history. Still Adams grabbed another to see him climbing up the Old Boys scoring charts with Josh Mason, Paul Collins and Jonny Gabriel joining the list of scorers. Gloss was taken off the victory when the Old Boys conceded a clumsy penalty, which Alex Bailey dispatched with barely concealed glee. A few minutes later PwC grabbed another one back, with Will Kendall losing control of the ball and Alex Bailey stealing in to smash home from a yard. His second of the day, and some consolation for the defeated captain. The final score of 6-2 highlighted Butler’s superiority throughout and thoughts now turn to more summer fixtures.

*If you are moving to London and want to play for the Butler Old Boys, just contact Lal Chadeesingh or join our Facebook group. All are welcome!*


In the evening, as the sun went away and the weather changed to rain, 40 alumni made their way to Inn of Court, Holborn to enjoy the London Alumni Dinner. After brief speeches from Des, Adrian, Stevie Jones and myself about the Tenth Year Anniversary celebrations from June 2016 to July 2017, which included the phrase from Stevie ‘we have a boat,’ guests tucked into their three course meal.  The atmosphere at the dinner was great and helped by the photo presentation that included many pictures from the attendee’s time at Butler. Unfortunately, unlike last year, there was no toast to Josephine Butler but the night was not affected by the lack of formality.

After the meal, the group moved onto Grand Union, Chancery Lane, which although did not seem ready to accommodate such a big group Butler alumni happily squeezed in and took over. More alumni joined who had not attended the meal and even a few cheeky students who have not graduated yet. A few alumni moved on to Sway, however, the majority of alumni remained in the bar catching up with old friends or new acquaintances.

From my point of view the reunion was a success. Thank you to everyone who came to the reunion and made it a lovely night in London. Hopefully I will be able to see you again at other upcoming events.

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Broadway – Fashion Show 2016

After months of odd diets and gym days for the models, this year’s Charity Fashion Show took on the theme of Broadway, giving the audience a cinematic experience that cannot be found in the Gala, Durham. Even before the show started standards were high, as in goody-bags ticket holders found a signed picture of model, Tom Crawford.


George Bradshaw and Daisy Busel took to the stage to welcome the audience and match Queen of Sass Catherine Kisanji and sidekick Matt Bircham, who presented last year. The show started with a tribute to the Lion King, with models channelling their inner jungle animals. George noted the presence of snakes and birds of prey that the audience needed to be cautious of.72

105The second walk took the form of an ABBA tribute that the audience could sing along to and think of easier, stress free times. The models helped by showing off their best dance moves to get everyone in the mood. The carefree Mamma Mia walk was followed by the first musical interlude. Hannah Reed and Becky Teece took to the stage performing Royals and Blame It On Me.



The Green Comm. walk disappointed only in that the handcrafted clothes did not fall off any of the models to satisfy audience members who only bought tickets to watch the underwear walk. However the disappointment soon evaporated when the models wore tie skirts, dresses, waistcoats all created by Green Comm. The male models were clothed in some remodelled Freshers’ Week t-shirts, which Matt Ricketts and Rupert Maspero simply ripped for that rugged look.


Butler Troupe, staying with the theme of Broadway, performed a version of Cell Block Tango that left the audience hot under the collar. The show continued with presence of leather jackets and disco leggings prominent in the Grease walk.


After an interval that saw the Howlands Hall empty and the bar packed, the models attempted to recreate the Rocky Horror Picture Show with Rudi Vizma attacking the moves as if he was on Klute dancefloor and Cameron Wild wearing a fetching fishnet vest. Rumours have been heard that Cameron intends to keep the vest to wear to his heart’s content.


Although the Butler Tigers only had a small contingent of the group performing there were people in the air and perfect bows which is all we can ask from our Butler cheerleaders. The audience was impressed, but the proudest audience member was cheer captain Hannah Turner.

With the second half bottle of wine flowing the Grace House Auction raised above £550.00, with prizes including a three-course meal cooked by Angus Dowie and George Bradshaw and double date with Cameron and Rudi. Meet and greet with Proudlock could not compare with the competition to eat with these hunks was tough, however, not as tough as Jack Hardwick’s determination to bid on a date with model Sally Crawford.

The following walk was the most elegant of all the walks with the male models wearing suits and the female models in ball gowns. The general audience feeling was pure anticipation for the models to be wearing less material and the teasing of suits and ball gowns heightened this anticipation. The models then transported us to Baltimore with pig tails and lollipops, there was no doubt the only thing missing from the Hairspray walk was Zac Efron.


There is no doubt the later on in the night you perform as a musical act the better the reception. However, the response to Orienne and her four man band was amazing. Most audience members were on their feet, prompting Tech Comm. to protect their lights. One audience member was so impressed he wanted to be sixth member of the musical group and clambered on stage.


After the band finished their two songs, the audience returned to their seats eagerly ready for the underwear walk. Of course the most awaited event of the social calendar, admiring other attractive Butler students in their underwear, did not disappoint. The song choice of Burlesque made the final walk extra special and left most of the audience feeling slightly inadequate. Especially, Tom Atherton’s top half.


Everyone in the Howlands, apart from security, Des, Pete and Mandy, did not want the show to end and the final walk to Fame was met with excitement marred with upset that it was all over. Luckily the after party at Loft/Studio with Proudlock from MIC meant the night was definitely not over.

The event was a huge success and so thanks need to be given to Louie and Megan for all their hard work in making the event possible.

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Happy New Year

After the Christmas break and the excitement at the end of last term with a successful Narnia-themed Winter Ball, Hattie and I are looking forward to the new term.

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Dates for your Diaries

We have events coming up specifically for the alumni community. On the 2nd of April our annual London reunion will take place. There will be a networking event during the day, encouraging current students to come and meet the Angels outside of Durham. In the evening there will be a dinner for Butler alumni. More information on the reunion will follow.


On the 4th of June Butler Day is the launch of the Tenth Year Anniversary. Our College day has been moved to a Saturday in an aim to ensure alumni can come up for the entire day. This Butler Day will be bigger and better than ever to kickstart celebrations.

Volunteer for Butler

Is your New Year’s resolution to get more involved in the College community? Well you are in luck. Josephine Butler is looking for alumni volunteers in several different areas.


Want to access that tempting recruitment bonus but don’t know how to start? Join Butler Angels to meet lots of students with no idea what they want to do after university.


If you have an aptitude for engaging with people through social media or just spend too much time on your Facebook feed, put this time to good use keeping alumni up to date on news from the alumni community.


If you live in London, Durham, Newcastle, Manchester or York apply to be an area volunteer. You can make sure that your area is represented in alumni events.

For more information or to volunteer email a.m.whitehouse@durham.ac.uk.

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Alumni Reunion 13th-15th November

The weekend of the 13th to the 15th of November saw one of the biggest events of the calendar for the whole of Durham. Most will think I am talking about Lumiere. Most would be mistaken as the weekend was the first Alumni Reunion of 2015-2016 in Durham. The lights of Lumiere could not compare with the smiles of the returning Alumni on hearing plans of attending Klute both Friday and Saturday night.

Alumni were welcomed back with open arms by societies such as Cheese and Wine, Rock and Alt Soc and Pitch, Please. Others attended the Open Mic Night in the bar and some even ventured into town in the miserable rain to look at the light installations of Lumiere. Generally all alumni happily returned to Klute to see if the worst nightclub in Europe had changed at all.


Saturday morning twenty alumni took over Café Continental to enjoy brunch. The day was taken up by alumni supporting their old college teams at matches, comparing JB’s to the old Coffee Shop and Kitchen and not letting first years near the pool tables. Saj continued to earn his Butler Day title of highest contribution to bar profits. Big names returned to the bar and to appreciate the tidiness of the JCR Office, including past presidents Stu Drayton, Will Kendall and Siri Minsaas. I was very star struck by the number of JCR heroes in the room.

In the evening twenty alumni prepared for the alumni dinner held in college, which they expected to be your average formal food in the seminar room. They were pleasantly surprised by the way the food quite different to a normal formal; apart from the toast to Josephine Butler at the end. Hattie Pridmore’s brainwave of displaying photos of the dinner guests in their early Butler Days brought nostalgia to all.DSC_0101

After the dinner, alumni congregated in the bar before taking on Klute for the second night in a row. Plans to hop onto the late PR2 into town were stopped when news came that Elvet had been closed. The pouring rain did not stop singing alumni making their way through town, ending up in Klute looking a little damp.12244809_954731017913691_2356339879835966501_o

Sunday morning Angels returned to impart their career advice to students with an amazing turnout. The bacon sandwiches on offer to Angels and students who signed up clearly lured people out of bed. The rest of Sunday involved lots of goodbyes and the bar emptying out slowly. The JCR has now returned to a normal week, however, with a feeling something is missing. You.


See you in April for the reunion in London.



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Freshers’ Week

A review of the Butler Games Freshers’ week that held more surprises than any Frep Team could have anticipated.


Just over two weeks ago the new Butlerites arrived at Butler College to a sea of enthusiastic Freps in yellow t-shirts, facepainted with red and yellow stripes, dots and other miscellaneous shapes. Many drivers on route up to the Butler roundabout indulged the mole who asked them to ‘beep for Butler.’ The new Butlerites made their way up the drive to be greeted by pounding music, which Des O’Neill bobbed his head to. Freshers went through the standard registration procedure, acquiring campus card, gown, different booklets and some Butler Games stash. Friendly freps moved the anxious Freshers into their new rooms for the year.

The Butler Games were officially kick-started by Anisha and Laurie, this year’s Head Freps. Following dinner in flats, the Butler Colours Rave started with Matt Ricketts, our facepaint guru, revealing the design of the Butler Crest, on his face. DJ Dejavu graced Butler stage to deliver an amazing set that made the bar come alive and Freshers take to the makeshift dancefloor of JB’s. Chilled made sure the red and yellow dress code extended to the meeting room, whilst the welfare team provided tea and toast expertly.


After a somewhat refreshing sleep, depending on the Fresher you asked, the academic commitments began. The normal questions surrounding connecting to the wifi, where post is delivered and how to use the PR2 were asked. The day occurred with little to report.

However, plans of Milfield cooking pizzas and Dilston attending their first ever Butler formal were delayed by a power cut in all three accommodation blocks, Butler Bar and the Howlands building. The poor Freshers believed that the Butler Games theme was being taken slightly too seriously. I can reveal the power cut was not planned in the timetable. The Freshers and Freps gathered in the staircases under the emergency lighting, some with guitars, to pass the time in the dark. The worst of the power cut (with all of Butler being affected) lasted about an hour and a half.

As power returned to the Bar, Howlands, Kirknewton and Milfield cooking was resumed. The formal began with a reduced high table entering the Howlands Hall, greeted by rumbling stomachs. The atmosphere in the Hall returned calm, as people were fed. Unfortunately this atmosphere could not last, as Dilston’s power could not be turned back on. Dilstoners were to be rehoused around Butler or in the Viaduct.Blissfully unaware, Milfielders danced away in the bar to The Invitations.

Dilstoners returned to their rooms to pick up some overnight clothes and essentials. The lucky few rehoused in Butler joined the Milfielders in the bar. Even though Dilston had no power Butler spirit could not be turned off, with all Freshers being very cooperative in moving.


Luckily, on Tuesday the Dilston students were able to move back into their rooms, power included. The events of the night before inspired some chants that were debuted on the Butler Stroll including: “If your food is defrosted clap your hands etc.” The first years made the most of the Stroll night as the matriculation photo could not take place on the Wednesday morning before University matriculation, due to Milfield Field resembling more of a swamp than a football pitch. This did not stop Freps waking up the Freshers with pots, pans and chanting. The procession down to the Cathedral was slightly dampened by more rain than Durham has ever seen. The soggy first years were welcomed, by the new Vice-Chancellor, into Durham University. If the Freshers did not feel the excitement of matriculation, or did not understand it, the balloon bridge and a dancing mole on Pre-bends Bridge cleared things up. The rest of the day was taken up by College Matriculation, Milfield’s formal (no power cuts but GBBO was missed) and a recharge night, where Freps and one talented Fresher took to the stage to offer music sets.


The Matriculation photo was rescheduled to the Thursday morning, taking place on Butler drive. The Freps took the chance once more to wake the Freshers with pots and pans. After Freps joined in for the final photo the rest of the day carried on as normal with academic commitments. Another stroll took place on Thursday night ending in the infamous Klute. Freshers did not quite know what to think as they were greeted by brick exterior. However, all seemed to enjoy their night out.


The Friday night bar event was the UV silent disco, which was a resounding success with all Freshers. One even returned in his pyjamas after making the rookie decision of heading to bed early. All Freps and Freshers sang with the music in their headphones until 2am.


The Butler Fair on Saturday attracted Freshers and Returners toign up for societies, sports and committees. Returners stayed on for the 90s’ Throwback Night as Spice Girls music dominated the bar. The night ended and the Freshers’ sadness, that the week was coming to an end, was felt by all Freps. However there was one more day before the yellow t-shirts were thrown to the back of wardrobes.

Sunday welfare took over. Giving out survival packs for Freshers to avoid Freshers Flu that most Freps were already experiencing. The week concluded with a JCR meeting that filled important positions whilst also putting forward an interesting mock motion  of changing the name of Treasurer to the Wolf of South Road, to reflect Sam Strading’s Leonardo DiCaprio esque lifestyle.


Thank you to the incredible frep team, with whom the week would not have been possible. Thank you to Anisha and Laurie for organising a great week. Thank you to Hattie for her constant enthusiasm. Finally, thank you to the Freshers who made the week enjoyable and worthwhile. Here is to a great year where at Butler the odds will always be in your favour.

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Graduation 2015 (No puns included)


Whilst all of the current students were either vacated from college or hidden away in their second year houses, the large marquee was erected on Palace Green to mark the start of Graduation Week. The city centre was packed with the masses of graduates surrounded by family, friends and distant relatives who wanted to experience a ceremony in the Cathedral.

I was lucky enough to graduate in the first graduation ceremony so the stressful build-up of the debate of whether to wear heels or not was not extensive. With a pleasant 9am start for my 11am congregation I was happy to amble up to Palace Green to pick up my fluffy hood and gown. You do have to feel for everyone that had to be up at 5:30am for their 9am congregation.

I would go through the procedure but I am sure basically everyone knows it, in the name of tradition I doubt it has changed. My ceremony, though, was described as uninspiring. It was a great hour and a half in the Cathedral but no one went for a fist bump, hug or high five. Later in the week there were rumours of an attempted selfie which was stopped aggressively with all members of the academic procession jumping on the student. But that may have been exaggerated.

All in all, it was a lovely day where I was surrounded by family and friends. Everyone who graduated with me and all the graduates all week seemed to share the same feeling: “we did it.” So this post has to be congratulations to all 2015 graduates but also all Butler Graduates wherever you are now. I hope you look back on your graduation day as fondly as I look back at last week.


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