‘The wonderful grounds and lake provide an amazing setting for the college’

Riseholme College

It was on a primary school day trip to Riseholme that I first realised that that was where I wanted to study.

Many years before I would have to think about career choices (and not being from a farming family) the seed was sown and I thought what an interesting and exciting place it seemed to be.

The main building was the Bishops Palace and the wonderful grounds and lake provide an amazing setting for the college.

I was at Riseholme in the mind 1980s before the time when it was affiliated to the De Montford University, while it was still known as the Lincolnshire College of Agriculture & Horticulture (LCAH).

Most of us were leaving home for the first time to take our place in the halls of residence, but Riseholme is the kind of place which made everybody instantly at ease, and to feel like part of a family.

I was studying the three-year NDA, but everybody knew everybody else, no matter what course they were on.

I don’t know how the size of Riseholme at that time compared to other colleges, but the Agrics, Hortics, Forestry and Secretarial students all lived on campus, so we all lived, ate, worked and socialised together.

This family feel extended throughout the college to include not only the students but also lecturers, farm staff, catering staff and the cleaner ladies who did such a wonderful job on our rooms.

Memories of my time there include the dreaded duties, when you had to get up incredibly early to help run either the dairy, pig, sheep or small animals unit with three or four of your mates (if you could find the right people and were able to wake them without disturbing the whole corridor). Finding your way across the parkland in pitch black and in dense fog was an experience.

The course at Riseholme had a good mix of lectures and hands-on practical content and I know that students went on to do a wide variety of different jobs after leaving. At that time the work on the college farm was all done by farm staff so students were able to have a go at everything.

The close-knit community and team spirit also played a great part in the success we had in rugby, football, hockey and quizzes against other colleges and RAF bases.

Although many of the students were from within Lincolnshire, it wasn’t exclusive and we had to drive to 21st birthday parties all over the country. We slept on wooden or stone floors in Lancashire, Cheshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire and Co Durham, to name but a few.

It must be a good place to work, too, as I recently returned there to carry out my FACTS training, some 20 years after leaving, and had the same lecturer.

I had a great time at Riseholme, and every time I drive past it I am very proud to say to my children: “That’s my college”.

writes Chris Hewis

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