From the archives: Ricky rifle unleashed on campus

Grace Dean looks through the archives to trace this week's in Newcastle’s campus history

Grace Dean
9th March 2020

Grace Dean looks through the archives to trace this week's in Newcastle’s campus history

2008 - Ricky rifle

Two nineteen-year-old male students were arrested by armed police after shooting an air rifle in Richardson Road, the student accommodation which has since been replaced by Park View. Resident alerted the accommodation’s security after hearing someone repeatedly firing an air rifle out of a bedroom window allegedly at a lamp post. The security guard then called the police after he felt like he himself was being shot at.

The police response was immense, with residents claiming to see three police vans and four police cars outside the accommodation as an armed raid of the students’ flat took place. Alongside being arrested, both students were removed from the accommodation and told to find alternative lodgings for the remainder of the year.

1977 - Union beer 19p a pint

The Courier reported in 1977 that “the Union rolled out the barrel and offered beer to students at only 19p a pint – but the only condition is that you have to buy 88 pints at a time”. The decision made by the Union Management Committee meant that students were able to buy whole kegs of beer from the Union at cost plus VAT and 10% handling charge. The choice of beer was, however, limited – only Tartan and Exhibition were on offer, costing £16.86 and £17.89 per keg respectively. The Union was also able to provide a footpump provided that the students left a £10 deposit.

1993 - Stan Calvert mourned

The University mourned the tragic passing of Stan Calvert, Director of the PE Centre. Described as “a genuine, cultured Northumbrian gentleman noted for his wit, charm and ability to communicate”, the Vice-Chancellor said “he was the Centre”. In remembrance of his role at the University and as an advisor and administrator for many physical education bodies both locally and nationally, the Stan Calvert varsity was set up between Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, which took place yearly until 2018.

Calvert was born in Alnwick in 1929 and played football for non-league side Bromsgrove Rovers while studying at Birmingham University. After several years as a PE teacher, he joined Newcastle University in 1958, where he helped to establish what is now the Sports Centre. In 1981 he became the University’s first Director of Sport.

2000 - robber returns the cash

A skint Northumbria student was robbed at knife-point in the city, only to have his cash returned to him “because his mugger felt sorry for him”.

The student was confronted by a man who explained that he had been barred from a pub but needed to contact someone inside, and asked the student if he would pass on the message himself. The man walked him down a back alley where he suddenly produced a knife and forced the student to hand over all his money, but after emptying his pockets it was revealed that he only have 54 pence. The robber then marched the student to the nearest cash point and demanded that he drain his account of money, however the machine refused to deposit any cash after it turned out that the student had exceeded his overdraft limit. The robber returned the money before making his escape.

That week, filthy freshers also faced student scorn after wrecking kitchens and starting food fights in Castle Leazes. The students raided six kitchens in Freeman’s Hall and spread the contents over walls and floors, including mayonnaise being found in the showers. What annoyed students most was that the residents were forced to pay the rice by having to clean up after the guilty parties, who the building staff were yet to ketchup with. One resident blasted, “I wouldn’t have minded, but it was my fucking Dolmio sauce. It was irresponsible, uncool and not that funny.” Only the year before that, Leazes residents had also caused trouble after smearing kebabs over CCTV cameras.

The Courier also featured an obituary to Oasis, which reads as follows:

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AUTHOR: Grace Dean
Editor-in-Chief of the Courier 2019/20, News Editor 2018/19, writer since 2016 and German & Business graduate. I've written for all of our sections, but particularly enjoy writing breaking news and data-based investigative pieces. Best known in the office for making tea and blasting out James Blunt. Twitter: @graceldean

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