We were delighted to welcome Bev Blackley, a former Sociology student who graduated in 1984, back to campus again. Along with friends and peers from between the 70s and 80s who were involved in the Methodist and Free Church Society, they reunited on the iconic Peel Park Campus. In this guest blog, Bev tells us about the reunion, which for some of the alums, was the first time they had returned to campus since graduating over 40 years ago. 

Bev writes: “On the weekend of 23rd-25th June 2023 a group of past students descended on Salford for a reunion. 

At some point between 1977 and 1989 we studied at the University, or at the then named College of Technology. We were all involved in what was a very active Methodist and Free Church Society, known as ‘Methsoc’ but later renamed ‘Methsoc Plus’ to account for the fact that members were drawn from all different denominations associated with the University and Chaplaincy. 

We came to Salford from both diverse church backgrounds or none, were students of many different subjects and we have gone on to live and work in a wide variety of places both in the UK and around the world. However, we all acknowledge the formative role Methsoc had in our personal and faith development beyond our years at Salford. 

Once we had looked past the wrinkles and grey hair (or no hair!) we found ourselves once again amongst friends. During the weekend we rediscovered Salford but found both the city and the campus much changed over the intervening 40 years.  

On Saturday some of us challenged our ageing limbs on a favourite student hike, leaving just enough energy in the tank to party on at a social in the Students’ Union bar in the evening. As well as sharing embarrassing photos, we tested our memories with a quiz of 1980s Salford trivia, including trying to recall which bands performed on campus during our student days.  

We joined the Sunday morning service at Emmanuel Church, the successor of the church we attended back in the 80s (‘our’ church is now sadly under the new Tesco car park!). Worship was led by two of our number who are ordained Methodist ministers and the congregation at Emmanuel included people who remembered us from the active student group. A simple “Bread and Cheese” lunch concluded the weekend and reminded us of Monday lunchtime gatherings in the 1980s chaplaincy in Peel Building. 

All in all, a fabulous weekend was had. Our thanks go to the staff of the Alumni Office and the Union bar, Atmosphere, for helping make the weekend possible. 

Thanks so much to Bev for sharing her story. We love to hear about our alumni revisting the campus. We hope you all had a fantastic time reminiscing. If you’d like to share your story or organise a reunion then please email alumni@salford.ac.uk.