Duncan Abel started at the college in 1989 undertaking a Diploma in Communication Studies together with A Levels in Sociology and Communication Studies. During his two years here, he passed his diploma, failed Sociology and dropped A Level Communication Studies.
Most mornings he spent travelling from Cromer on the train, before walking from the station through the city to the college.
On rare occasions, he would get the bus from the station, and on even rarer occasions he would get a lift in with a friend studying at NHSFG.
He recalls that there were a varied bunch of students on his course, half of whom were mature students.
Wonderfully eccentric and demanding tutors!
Duncan remembers his wonderfully eccentric, Creative Writing tutor Alan Berry, and demanding Head of Course Roger Whittaker. Other tutors that he recalls, included Joan Cherry (Sociology), Roger Wood (Comm Studies), Tony (Sociology), and Gill (Communication Studies).
“We had a laid back photography tutor who helped to inspire me – I still enjoy photography today, having had my pictures grace the front cover of several magazines, and articles.”
Avoiding his A Levels lectures!
There may be a reason that Duncan failed his Sociology, he openly admits that he used to spend too much time in the F Block canteen rather than in lectures!
Those were the days when smoking was an accepted practice in public places. The then, downstairs canteen was the designated smoking area, upstairs had the main hot plate at lunch time, vending machines, and long rows of tables and chairs.
He says, there was also a ‘great juke box’ and ‘quiz machine‘ (not too much of a distraction from his lectures then!).
Opportunities a plenty……..
Duncan was lucky to gain some excellent work placements as part of his course. Fortunately he really enjoyed these opportunities!
There was a placement at the Photographic department, at the Institute of Food Research.
(Duncan shared his ID card from that placement. It appears there may have been some confusion over his name! We are trying to determine whether that was a typo error or whether it was something to do with the particularly brilliant party he said he’d attended the night before!)
Additionally, he enjoyed a placement at a local studio opposite The Waterfront (Malcolm Parnell Photography). Whilst there, he helped photograph a catalogue for furniture and interiors store, Clement Joselyn, formerly on Bedford St in the city, and an Argos type catalogue.
College Bops at Peppermint Park!
Duncan tells us
“We used to have College Bops, at Henry’s Nightclub then latterly named as Peppermint Park on Rose Lane in Norwich. It was always a challenge to be served when you were in your first year!
The main dance floor was Indi and pop whilst upstairs they played rap, hip-hop and dance.
They were always great nights concluding with expensive taxi rides back to Cromer!”
From Photography to saving Nicaraguan Fishermen……….
After leaving CCN, Duncan was accepted to join Kings Lynn Tech on a Photographic course. He wasn’t eligible for a subsistence grant, so wasn’t able to afford to go.
So what did he do instead?
He ended up joining Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, in May 1993, for a total of 9 years.
During that time, he travelled throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Far East. He trained in the jungle in Brunei, the snow fields of Northern Norway, and saved the lives of several Nicaraguan fishermen after Hurricane Mitch blitzed its way through the region!
Wow, sounds like Duncan had some amazing adventures and he will certainly have some great tales to tell the grandchildren one day!
Sailing the Seven Seas!
In 2002, unfortunately having damaged both his knees, Duncan decided to leave the Marines to pursue more adventures elsewhere.
He started to skipper yachts professionally, this took him back to the Mediterranean followed by a Trans-Atlantic crossing with time in the USA and Caribbean once again.
Returning to Cromer in 2003, he’d intended to head back to sea but instead, heart ruled his head as he met his wife and he’s subsequently remained in Cromer ever since!
Life in Norfolk.
With his feet firmly set on land, Duncan proceeded to hone his sales skills as the office manager of an estate agency in Holt.
He subsequently joined Archant, in Oct 2009, as the Ad Sales Manager for Anglia Afloat. This is a regional boating magazine, meaning that he had ultimately found a job where his knowledge and skills gained from college would be of some use!
Duncan currently works with two other parties who took the Diploma in Communications at City College Norwich.Graham Perrin – who works as a scheduler for Mustard TV, and Andrew Woollacott – who is a manager in the magazine advertising design deptartment.
Just goes to show that the lessons learnt all those years ago have now been put into good practice!