A Day in the Life of a Parish Priest… with Reverend Dot Gosling

A Day in the Life of a Parish Priest… with Reverend Dot Gosling

Dot Gosling is a former University chaplain who also graduated from the University with a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education in 2004. Dot is now parish priest for three church communities near Prestatyn and also the mission area leader. She looks after ten parishes in total, has three colleagues to care for, and facilitates missions alongside her colleagues.

In today’s blog post, Dot tells us what a day in the life of a parish priest is like…

“So what does a day look like for me?”

“This morning started as usual, with breakfast and prayer. Taking a look at my diary, I could see I had two appointments, then the rest of my day was going to be admin type things and trying to get some notes down for the sermon on Sunday. However, that is not quite what my day ended up looking like…

10.00am: I had my first visitor, a mum whose little boy is being baptised in two weeks. We had a good conversation and she left, I went back to my computer and was about to start doing some work when the phone rang!

10.20am: It was one of my church wardens talking about an issue we have with lighting in one of the church buildings… that led on to a conversation about the closed church in another of the villages… that led onto another conversation about stoles!

10.35am: When that conversation finished, I had to phone the personal assistant to our bishop, who gave me two more names to call about the closed church.

10.40am: Phoned the first of the two names and we may be slightly nearer to knowing what the next steps are to making the church redundant in order to dispose of some the items in there.

10.50am: Phone call finished, I started to read emails and the doorbell went. It was the church warden who had been on the phone earlier. She had been to the closed church and brought round some vestments for me to look at, including stoles. We had a conversation about my phone calls and then she left.

11.10am: Finally started to deal with emails and various other admin tasks (including putting some washing in the machine!).

12.20pm: Lunchtime!

12.45pm: I began to gather the things I needed for a meeting I was going to in order to plan for an away day for the newly formed mission area. Luckily I managed to get my washing out as well, then I needed to set off for the meeting.

The meeting was a good one, but I didn’t leave there until 4.35pm and my next appointment was at 5.30pm – 50 minutes away!

5.25pm: I arrived at Gyrn castle just in time. I was greeted by the owner and immediately asked if I was ok with heights and taken up to the top of the castle outside! We then went down the scaffolding and went inside to a lovely warm kitchen where we conversed for 90 minutes – a wide ranging conversation, some of which will be great if it happens!

7.00pm: Arrived home and made dinner before sitting down to finish writing this. Although I should be able to relax, as I have done more than a full day, I now have to put together a short Morning Prayer order of service for tomorrow. My three colleagues will be here at 9.15am to pray and talk together for an hour or so.

No day is the same in my week! There are a few constants, such as the time we meet for prayer on Friday mornings, or a Wednesday morning Eucharist. Some weeks I have school collective worship, and obviously Sunday services, but the rest is different every week. That’s what I like so much about the job, the variety and different conversations I have mean I don’t ever have time to be bored. I also know I have been called here by God, for now, but it won’t be forever… watch this space!”

Dot made contact with our Alumni team via our Facebook page. If you would like to become a guest blogger, you can contact us on our Facebook page (@UoChesterAlumni) or at alumni@chester.ac.uk.

The Cestrian Award 2017

The Cestrian Award 2017

Do you aspire to achieve your sporting dreams at international level but find travel costs expensive? Or do you dream of putting together a successful project to benefit the community but lack the funding? The Cestrian Award 2017 could be what you need to help make your dreams reality and applications are now open!

The Cestrian Award is a fantastic opportunity for students and staff at the University to boost their funds to help them compete in sport at a higher level or support the community in some way. Set up in 2012 by the Alumni Executive Committee, each year two awards of £500 are offered to up to two successful applicants.

The Cestrian Sports Award: This award is open to current students and staff, either individually or as part of a team, who may require financial assistance to participate in sports at a higher level. This could include international representation!

The Cestrian Community Award: This award is open to both current staff and students, either individually or as part of a team. Applications are welcome from those who are making a difference to a community and would like to inspire others to do the same through a particular project.

The Cestrian Award aims to help students and staff reach their goals whilst reducing some of the financial pressure they may be under, allowing them to focus on their chosen activity.

One of the Cestrian Award recipients in 2016 was staff member Richard Bott, Technician in the Department of Sports and Exercise. Richard represented Great Britain (GB) in the Triathlon World Championship 2015 in Chicago where he came 39th in the 35-39 age group category. He continued to focus on his cycling and used his award to help him compete in several road and track cycling competitions.

Cestrian Award Richard Bott Teide MountainCaption: Richard pictured at Teide Mountain in Tenerife.

Richard, said: “After competing in Triathlons, I decided to return to my true passion of cycling. Training has been going well this year and I have just returned from a training camp in Tenerife. Whilst it may sound like it was all fun in the sun, I amassed 35 hours of training in just seven days and climbed the equivalent of Everest – twice!

“The Cestrian Award meant that I was able to purchase a new track bike which has enabled me to compete in regional and national competitions of which I have won nine races and placed second in two further races. I am currently third in the track league rankings and I am hoping I may be selected for the GB Masters competitions this year.

“Without the help from the University of Chester Alumni Executive Committee, this would not have been possible, so I would also like to thank all those involved for selecting my application.”

Sport Science Master’s student, Josh Lee, also received the Cestrian Award in 2016 and used it to help fund his travel to training sessions, residential weekends and the European Championships in Hungary as head sport scientist and assistant manager for the England lacrosse senior men’s team.

 Cestrian Award Josh Lee - England LAx team 2016Caption: Joshua Lee (back right) with the England Senior Men’s Lacrosse Team.

Josh said: “My position with the team was very important to my development as a sport scientist. It allowed me to gain valuable experiences that have been vital to my progression. I would recommend that anyone apply as it can relieve some of the pressure and enable you to focus on what is important. I am really grateful to the Alumni Association’s generous offer of support to help fund my travel to the Championships. I have gained exceptional experience which is essential to have in this area of work.”

Josh is now working as a sport scientist for Catapult, a world leader in wearable sports technology.

The 2017 winners will be featured in our alumni magazine, The Cestrian and have the chance to promote their achievements in the press. It is an exciting opportunity that not only highlights the success of our students, but also the generosity of our Alumni Association.

Applications for the Cestrian Award are available here: https://alumni.chester.ac.uk/Pages/The-Cestrian-Award.aspx

Applications close May 26, 2017.

Guest Blogger: Laura Lee Davies (1987)

Guest Blogger: Laura Lee Davies (1987)

We are delighted to welcome this week’s guest blogger, Laura Lee Davies. Laura Lee studied at the Warrington campus from 1984-87, gaining a degree in Communication Studies from Manchester University. In this week’s blog post, she tells us about her career since graduating and offers some advice to future writers/editors…

“When I was in sixth form, communications courses were pretty thin on the ground. Many courses were very career specific: journalist courses in London, engineering ones elsewhere. But I found one at Padgate College, now Warrington Campus, which offered a mix of disciplines. Perfect for a 17 year-old who wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do yet…

“I chose English and AVC (Media Studies to anyone under 45). Because there were fewer colleges offering this kind of course at the time, competition for places was actually quite stiff. Clearly my interests and activities out of school were as important as my grades. I’d set up a school magazine and run a fanzine with friends. Hardly high-end publishing, but enough to show the College that I was engaged and creative, not just someone who’d ticked any course box to get me a place.

“I loved the variety of the course, and unlike a lot of my school friends’ courses, it had a view to career options with useful work experience components. I did my work experience at a magazine called City Limits in London. This was a listings magazine so I could channel my passions for film and music in a setting that wasn’t so gender specific like the women’s magazine industry.

“During the summer term of my second year, I got in touch with City Life (a similar magazine in Manchester) and offered my services on a casual basis, helping out for a few hours on production days. I’d do anything from reviewing a new exhibition, to calling round the cinemas to get their film listings for the following week – my knowledge of the suburbs of Manchester drastically improved!

“On the day I finished my last exam, there was an advert in the Guardian Media pages: Music Listings Assistant at Time Out magazine in London. To my amazement, I got the job! I think the mix of student enthusiasm for a junior role (no walking in and expecting to write the cover feature the next day), fanzine projects and my work experience gave me the edge over more experienced writers. Often in work experience roles, you won’t get the depth of exposure to a real job as you might with an internship, but even if in two weeks you just learn how to proof read and use the right markings, that’s another skill for your CV.

“The job was busy, but I said yes to everything extra that I could – even if it meant writing features at the weekend. I know that it’s not easy, but if you are recently out of university, stick at it and build on your enthusiasms. As an editor, I meet loads of keen young interns. The ones who get called back after their three month internships are the ones that are happy to do any task well and don’t think filing is beneath them. They have good writing skills but aren’t necessarily fully developed yet and they accept that if the editor asks them to do a rewrite, their copy requires a full workover, not just tweaking a couple of words. It also helps to show real knowledge and passion for a particular subject – it might not be the area you end up working in, but it gives the editor an idea of your level of ability.

“I ended up staying at Time Out for 17 years. I know that sounds very lazy, but every time I thought I should move on, I got promoted and the chance to work with new people. I went from music editor, to features editor, to editor. London was changing all the time, and that kept the job interesting. I did other projects like presenting a music show on a BBC London radio station and judging the Mercury Music Prize in my spare time.

“After five years spent as editor, I left in 2004. Now I love the flexibility of freelancing and enjoy working in print (yes, it still has a role) and online. I write about arts, music, London and lifestyle issues, sometimes working on commercial projects which pay well and give me the financial breathing space to take on arts editorial writing. I freelance as Senior Contributing Editor at Time Out still – the magazine is very different and it’s free these days, but the basic premise is the same: shout about all the good things to see and do in the place you live.

“I don’t think anyone, even beginners, should work for nothing though, unless they do something as a one-off to showcase their talents or to highlight an issue they really believe in. If a publishing house is still running as a business, it’s making enough money to pay its writers!”

Laura Lee made contact with our Alumni team at the recent Warrington Campus 80s Reunion. Pictured above is Laura Lee outside her room in her old hall of residence.

If you would like to organise a reunion or become a guest blogger, please contact us at alumni@chester.ac.uk.



How I became a… Hosting Broker

How I became a… Hosting Broker

Stephen Mitchell graduated from Chester with a BSc (Hons) in Multimedia Technologies in 2006. Stephen landed his first job, a graduate role for a major hosting company in Manchester, after visiting a Graduate jobs fair. After a number of years and promotions in the company, he decided to utilise his technical knowledge and business acumen and start up his own brokerage.

Tell us about your role/business, and where the idea came from?

Root Provider is a hosting consultancy and brokerage, so we advise and ultimately pair you with the right provider, using our Best Value Route™. The idea came to me during my years over at my last job, where two main points sprung to mind, repeatedly –  that the hosting market is fairly closed, as not many reputable providers reveal their prices online (so hard to compare), and although a niche, my research pointed to no-one existing that could provide comparison services. The first point has changed somewhat through the growth of “Mass Cloud” services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as they make nearly everything transparent. What that also does is focus away from service/that personal touch, so my services bridge that gap.

The name comes from Root being the highest level of access to most types of computers, also being a play on words for route/path. Provider coming from Internet Service Provider and the fact that I am providing a route – hopefully it works!

Ok, for the benefit of readers like us who aren’t familiar with hosting… How does it work?

Great question! I like to compare it to running a shop. You generally need the following basics to trade: A shop/building, staff to perform duties, such as ‘front of house’ to talk to customers, and a back of house/stock room team who takes the requests on what stock to bring to front of house, then a manager who runs the shop, managing the requests between front and back, and deciding how the shop should look. Of course, you also need stock.

Likewise in hosting you need a place for your website to live (computer, server, Cloud etc), programs to perform duties, a web service to talk to website visitors / translate what the Code wants the website to look like, Code to control how the other services interact, and a Database engine that takes requests on what information to bring to the web service. The ‘stock’ is either an actual product or a news article, for example.

The hosting is the shop/building. It houses the services that perform the duties needed and will dictate how efficient they are, given the room they have in the shop. It has an address to let people know where it is (like hosting has an IP address/URL) and the size will determine how many “staff” can fit in it.

So a shop selling pies to 10 people a day would need a different size and setup of shop to, say, a website serving 10,000 people a day, to merge the example with what I do – and it’s free to the customer!

Free? Really?! How does that work?

Yes, all of the advice and comparison services I provide are FREE to customers – I do business with the hosting providers to secure the best deal.

How did you get to the point you are at today?

After leaving my last role, I wanted to give running my own business a try, especially given the contacts formed within the industry. Using those contacts, I started building my partner network up until Christmas 2016, and landed a few deals in between now and then.

Since my degree involved a heavy amount of web development, I was able to build my own IT infrastructure out, resulting in the website seen today – www.rootprovider.co.uk . I already have International partners on board, which is fantastic for me so early on in the business.

What does a typical day entail for you?

Something I love about my work is how varied it can be, with each day providing a different challenge. Since my services cover everything from simple web advice to designing complex platforms, can spend a day researching a particular technology, or talking someone through cloud strategy. It nearly always involves some form of research/comparison (using an engine I built to collect data) with coordination between clients and suppliers.

What are your plans for development/the future?

This year the focus is on getting my message out – free hosting help.

Naturally through enquiries, new partnerships will form and have already been approached by other businesses to consult on how best they should set up their own ventures. Website wise, I want to incorporate a more dynamic version of the site, including the ability to login and manage stored quotes, guides and information, turning the site from essentially a brochure, into a broker!

You can find Stephen on Linkedin here. This blog contributor was found via our Linkedin Alumni network – why not join today?

Find out more about courses in the Department of Computer Science at University of Chester.


Allow me to introduce myself…

Allow me to introduce myself…

Hello, and welcome back to our Alumni blog!

My name is Hayley; I am a University of Chester alumna and currently the editorial assistant for Alumni and PR. Having studied both my undergraduate and Master’s degree here at the University of Chester, I am excited to have the opportunity to keep fellow alumni of all ages up to date with the latest events and news here at the University, as well as sharing memories from the past.

My Chester story began in 2012 when I arrived at the University to study English Literature. Arriving aged 21, I was surprised to learn I was classed as a ‘mature student’, but was relieved to be put into University accommodation with similar students where ages ranged from 19 to 24 – just how mature we all were though, I’m not so sure!

Home was a large Victorian house, just off Liverpool Road, where myself and the nine other students quickly became great friends. Particular highlights included summer barbecues in our huge back garden and staying up until unearthly hours of the morning, chatting away – the lack of a living room meant we would have to congregate on the stairs! Nights out always seemed to end up in Rosie’s – I am sure any recent alumni will be familiar with the sticky floors and cheesy pop dance floor… The night would end with chicken nuggets in hand, ready for the arduous journey back to Liverpool Road (which took all of ten minutes!).

In between socialising, my time at University was also spent juggling part-time jobs and my studies. Through UniJob (a scheme run by Careers and Employability to help students find part-time work at the University while they study), I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many wonderful staff members who play such a vital part in making the students’ University experience enjoyable. My jobs have ranged from working in the library, Careers and Employability, the Business School and Corporate Communications.

When it came to the end of my undergraduate degree, I was just not ready to leave Chester yet and decided to apply for an MSc in Management with Marketing. I was also fortunate enough to be one of the first cohorts to study at the brand new Queen’s Park campus. It was a tough year that flew by, but worth every second.

As can be expected, my years spent at University have come with many highs and a few lows, but I would love to be able to go back and do it all over again! I count myself extremely lucky to have made such great friends and in years to come, I would love to be able to sit down with them all and look back on these fond memories.

We love hearing stories from our alumni, so whether you graduated last year or fifty years ago, get in touch and share your experiences. What are some of your favourite memories from your time at the University of Chester? Leave a comment or contact us on our Facebook/Twitter.

The Chester Alumni blog is here – Welcome!

The Chester Alumni blog is here – Welcome!

Welcome to our new blog for all things Alumni at the University of Chester. Whether you graduated 1, 10 or 50 years ago, we will be blogging about where you studied, stayed and what you have all done since! We hope to show the successes and ones-to-watch within our alumni community, stories from both past and present, whether it be recalling your College days or what you did on graduation last year.

We also plan to blog about interesting and often unknown parts of the University’s history and heritage, be it from our archive of artefacts or from the memories of you who studied here. Did you know, for example, that before we had our alumni magazine The Cestrian, we had The Collegian, which has been running since 1898?! We’ve put the earliest existing cover of that magazine side by side with our most recent issue above to give you an idea of how we’ve changed since then!

So, why a blog?

We hear about so many aspects of University and College life, past and present, and we cannot always fit those into our hardcopy magazine. Many of these stories and events find their way to us via Social Media, and we really wanted a place where they can all ‘live’ for alumni and friends of the University to enjoy. The Cestrian has come a long way, and from this year we will be publishing one, annual edition, published in late Spring.* That’s a long time to wait to tell you all about something we find out about in July! So, our blog was born.

What will you find here on our blog?

We want this blog to be for and about you, our amazing alumni community. There are around 75,000 of you worldwide, and we want to hear from you! Whether it be a new or established career of life venture, a catch up on where you are now, or a callout to catch up with those you studied with, we can blog about it. Just set up a business? We’d like to know. Set one up 50 years ago? Sounds interesting to us. Have a story from when you were here that you might like to share? We’ll consider it for the blog.

If YOU would like to be a guest blogger, we would love that! All of the above examples can apply, as well as anything in-between – whether you would like to promote your new album, tell others starting out what your career has been like to this point, or you are currently raising money for a great cause, we would love you to tell us all about it.

So whether you graduated from University of Chester, Chester College, or Padgate, this blog is for you!

But before we start, who are we?

Fiona, the Alumni and Development Manager, arrived in 2011 and has been gathering the troops since, with her passion for meeting people and love of their unique stories.  She has woven many a tale into an event or activity, including the design and group production of a 2m square community quilt depicting aspects of the history of the institution!  She loves connecting people and accrues a lot of information on facts and events of the past, resurfacing these details months or years later when piecing together the history of student lives.  She creates unique events and fundraising campaigns for alumni to participate in, encouraging volunteers to get involved along the way.  Fiona knows the value of keeping everyone in touch so don’t be surprised if you hear from her!

Helena is the Alumni & Development Officer and has been on the team since 2015. Helena is always interested in the stories of Chester alumni – Helena is our Social Media queen, so is always on the lookout for new and exciting ones-to-watch to feature. Helena hopes to blog about new start-ups and business ideas, info pieces on how we can connect with Social Media and technology, and to connect current students with alumni. Helena is an experienced crowdfunding campaign manager and mentor, and would love to hear from alumni who would like to use crowdfunding for their projects. Helena also loves all things Arts, so if you’re a budding (or seasoned) artsy alumni Helena would love to talk to you!

That’s us, now over to you!

* If you would like to receive The Cestrian, we are now digital! Sign up here and we will add you to our e-subscriber list.