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Forever friends

The friendships we make at University are among the most defining in our lives. Three friendship groups reflect on the special connections that began here at Nottingham.
Connect Community Forever friends

Through good times and challenges, the experiences we share with others at university can forge friendships that last for a lifetime. We asked some of our alumni to tell us about the people they met while at Nottingham, and what these friendships mean to them today.  

Colin Maber and Steve Cartwright 

“I can’t put my finger on exactly the length of time since we last saw each other, but you would guess from this conversation it might have only been a fortnight.” So says Colin Maber (Architecture, 1977) as he sits down with his friend of over 40 years, Steve Cartwright (Medicine, 1978).

Alumnus Colin Maber pictured at the old Clubhouse, Highfields, with friend Steve Cartwright.

It had actually been 15 years, but it’s clear their friendship is one which transcends any concept of time. As the University enters the Rugby Union Club’s centenary season, it’s clear both men place considerable value on the bond produced during their time on the pitch.

They namecheck several teammates who still form a strong friendship circle: “Steve Johnson who was my best man, we see him when he comes over from America, probably every year to 18 months. If he landed in that chair now the one thing we'd never have to say ‘do you remember the time when?’ We're immediately off again, laughing and joking,” said Colin.

“I don’t think it would be the same bond had we met in halls or through our studies. If somebody's getting a right kicking then you're not going to stand back – that's a short friendship. It's a lot to do with sport and a great deal to do with rugby,” Colin continues.

Steve adds: “There were times where if things weren't going well on the rugby pitch your confidence would be knocked, but the team enabled me to overcome difficulties on my own. Everyone in that team was going to make a success of their lives.”

Celebrating 100 years of rugby

This year is the centenary of our Rugby Club - and we're celebrating with pride all those who have worn the green and gold across the decades. 

Be part of the celebrations  

Share your memories of rugby at Nottingham or join us in April 2020 for a special Centenary Dinner with rugby great and fellow Nottingham graduate, Brian Moore. 

You can also support our Centenary Appeal and help give current and future students the chance to follow in your footsteps and benefit from all that rugby has to offer.

Celebrate 100 years of Rugby >

Eleanor Alatorre, David Alatorre Troncoso and Peter Storey

Adrenaline junkies Eleanor Alatorre (Law, 2015), David Alatorre Troncoso (Mechanical Engineering, 2015) and Peter Storey (Mechanical Engineering, 2015) first bonded in the skies above Nottinghamshire, and back on Earth, after meeting at the University’s skydiving club.

Alumni Elle Alatorre and David Alatorre Tronoso pictured together on their wedding day, 17th August 2019.

“David and Pete were the first people I met when I joined the University’s skydiving club,” said Eleanor. “They were already good friends, while I became their friend when we were all elected to the skydiving club committee. Some of my favourite memories of our early friendship were doing jumps together to learn new skills and celebrating a successful day of skydiving with drinks at the ‘Drop Zones’ bar.”

During one of those evening celebrations, friendship turned to love for Eleanor and David. “Pete accidentally played cupid when we were together one evening. He left early, leaving David and I on what we now consider our first date,” said Eleanor. “We always make an effort to spend time together. Our friendship has stayed strong after graduating, not only because of shared hobbies, but because we enjoy a shared sense of humour and value each other’s time and opinions.

“When David and I got married, we asked Pete to be our best man. It meant a lot to have someone who has played an integral part in our relationship take on that important role on the day.”

Margaret Hempsell and Dorothy Standeven 

Margaret Hempsell (Economics, 1948) and Dorothy Standeven (French, 1948) met in Florence Boot Hall in 1946, a time of tremendous change in post-war Britain. Over 70 years of friendship, the pair have remained close companions.

Margaret Hempsell and Dorothy Standeven originally met while at Florence Boot Hall in 1946.

“We had rooms next to each other,” recalls Margaret. “You had a nice room on the corner with a view, and I was next door.”“I remember coming over to your room and talking together,” adds Dorothy. “I remember practicing for ballroom dancing at the 'hops' with you too.”

In the years since graduating, Margaret and Dorothy have lived far apart – Dorothy and her husband spending time in Bermuda – and on each other’s doorstep. But wherever life has taken them, their friendship has remained constant.

“You wrote letters from Bermuda, that’s how we kept our friendship going,” said Margaret.

“We got together every year when you were back in Britain. Our husbands, the two Maurice’s, got on well. They were both in the Royal Artillery during the war.”

“It was by chance we now live so close together,” said Dorothy. “When Margaret asked where I was moving to six years ago, she said, that’s 15 minutes from me!”

“When you look back,” said Margaret, “there has been tremendous social change since the end of the war that we’ve seen during our lifetime. And we’ve experienced all of that together as friends.”

Tell us your story 

If you have a University friendship you would like to celebrate, email us at:

We would love to hear from you.