Sue & Derek Colquhoun - BEd (Hons) Education, 1978

Sue and Derek joined the Carnegie School of Physical Education at Leeds Polytechnic in September 1978.


The School of Education Building on Headingley Campus

They were both studying the same four-year BEd (Hons) Education course, with Sue studying Maths and Derek Geography as their minor subjects. They met 10 days into their time at university and have now been married more than 40 years.

Derek said: “Looking back, the first term was hectic and quite exhausting. There were many clubs and social activities to attend as well as lots of practical lectures.

“One of our first practical's together was athletics, specifically the long jump. We didn't do too well and ended up watching the many good athletes in the class and consoling ourselves for our poor form instead.

That was 10 days into our time at Carnegie. You could say it was love at first sight in the long jump pit. After this first romantic encounter we began seeing each outside of classes.

Their second year was spent in the same halls of residence as their first, Caedmon for Sue and Derek in Carnegie.

Sue became President of Caedmon and Derek Vice-President of Carnegie (and President of the Carnegie Student Association). During this time, the couple had to choose their practical specialities, Sue chose dance, whilst Derek chose gymnastics.

Derek recalls: “We were spending more and more time together so much so that we ended up dancing together for an assessment. Something that our year group still laugh about at our annual reunions.

“During the summer holidays we worked together on the steamers on Ullswater in the Lake District. Sue worked behind the bar and I worked as a deckhand. We did this six summers all together, so to this day Lake Ullswater has a special place in our lives.

“At the end of our third year we were married at Sue's parish church in Bottesford, had a brief honeymoon in the Lake District and fourth year was spent living together off campus.

“By this time Carnegie was now called Carnegie School of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies and our degrees were validated by Leeds University.”

After graduation the newly-weds moved to Leicestershire where Sue worked as a teacher in Ashby de la Zouch and Derek in Leicester. Derek went on to study for a Master’s degree in Physical Education and Sports Science at Loughborough University, inspired by Carnegie lecturer Dr Humphreys. Sue, meanwhile, continued to do fantastic work in PE and dance at Ashby Grammar School including outreach work in the community.

Derek said: “Around this time we decided to take up an offer to travel to Australia where I studied for a PhD in primary school curriculum development in Health and Physical Education at the University of Queensland. Sue was an itinerant PE teacher across Brisbane and a dance teacher at a community college.

Sue became Head of Dance at Sacred Heart College in Geelong and Derek's last position was as Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education at the University of Tasmania.

They returned to the UK for the birth of their first child before returning to Australia, this time to Victoria, where they lived for another 13 years, having two more children. They came back to the UK permanently in 2002, where they regularly attend reunions organised by their year group. Along with many others, Derek and Sue recently returned to the university’s Headingley Campus

Derek said: “It has been really fantastic reconnecting with our colleagues from our course, some of whom we haven't seen since 1982. Through the terrific efforts of Dave and Jay Smith we meet at least once a year and spend a weekend laughing and reminiscing over our time at Carnegie.”

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