As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we are catching up with former staff and students to share their memories of the college.

In the first of our series of recollections we caught up with Dave Armstrong who was among those to see the launch of the new sixth form as a student in 1972...



I attended Bede in 1972 when the sixth form college opened and we had the disruption of decanting from Bede Hall to what was Stephenson Hall staying until 1975 (I stayed an extra year).

I left not knowing what career path I was headed down – maybe a PE Teacher...? and ended up as a commercial manager for a big engineering company in Middlesbrough building structures for the offshore oil and gas industry which employed 1,500 men.

I qualified as a chartered quantity surveyor and set up and ran my own businesses working on major engineering projects in the UK, Norway, Chile and other locations. I now have an office at Wynyard and primarily work as an expert on construction disputes... all a far cry from Marsh House Avenue!

My abiding memory of Bede Sixth Form was the freedom of changing from being at a school to the more relaxed environment of a sixth form college, preparing us for the real world. We had a dedicated social area with darts and table tennis table and a smoking room which was a radical idea, even though I didn’t smoke!

No computers, no mobile phones, no SKY TV!

Our football and rugby teams excelled considering our size and we had representatives on the county teams.

The dances were stellar affairs – I recall the dance committee had the chance to book the Average White Band or Shakin' Stevens but declined both because £50 was too much to pay for a gig!

Other connections to the college include... my sister Kathryn also attended Bede, she is now group editor for Archant Magazines who publish Yorkshire Life, Lancashire Life and other similar magazines after having been an editor at The Gazette, The Journal and others.

My nephew, Adam Coulson, also attended Bede and he is now head of digital media at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

My wife, Lindsey, has her own link to the college having taught A level Law for a short time there. 

Finally, there are a number of once famous names from my time...

Eddie Jobson – played violin and keyboards with Frank Zappa, Curved Air, Jethro Tull and Roxy Music . He played an unexpected electric version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons one Christmas assembly at Bede Hall before the move which brought the house down.

Rob Bettinson - former producer and director of musicals, The Jolson Story, Buddy and 125th Street, all still touring the world. Rob now runs an Alpaca farm in Warwickshire with his wife, who also went to Bede.

Dave Hockaday – a professional footballer from leaving Bede Sixth Form College with Blackpool, Swindon, Hull, Shrewsbury and manager at Swindon, Coventry, Watford and Leeds United.


Do you have fond memories of your own time at Bede Sixth Form College?

We would love to hear from you. Email: Marie.Turbill@the-etc.ac.uk 

Dave Armstrong DSC 0494 Dave Armstrong Bede 1972
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