At the centre of the web – being a Year Rep

Web with water droplets

By Peter Hill, 1958 Year Rep


Being a Year Rep is enjoyable. You are the spider at the centre of the web. You keep in touch with a far wider range of colleagues than you ever did at university. You get to know the scientists (who I never knew when I was a classicist) and the rowing men (who I never mixed with as a rugby player) and the hearties and public school types (I was an arty and a bluecoat boy). And you find out they are a lot more interesting and friendly than when you were 20. Of course, we have lost a few along the way. Of 123 freshmen in 1958, I am now in contact with 85. Some are lost – missionaries
in Africa, army trainees on a one-year course, men who didn’t enjoy their time at the Hall, or who went down early. And I say men, because there weren’t any women in those days. And 30 are dead. That means, as we all approach 80, that 70% of what sociologist might call my ‘cohort’ are still alive. That is good news. Many have been successful in their lives as professors, engineers, politicians or churchmen – we include several QCs and judges, a number of emeritus professors, a retired bishop and the new Lord Speaker of the House of Lords. Several are still active, producing books, conducting research, travelling around. I send out about four newsletters a year, mainly cheery gossip, although one of our number said to me that increasingly he was wary of opening my attachment in case it contained another obituary. But life, miraculously, goes on and all I have to do is to outlive the rest of them!