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In memory of Peter Hale

Peter Hale

Peter Hale in front of Wearmouth

The 22nd of March marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Peter Hale, former Senior Warden at Wearmouth Hall. 

Peter Hale, a Senior Lecturer in Business and Economics and former Senior Warden of Wearmouth Hall of Residence at the University of Sunderland died on March 22, 2007 aged 80 years. Admired for over 20 years by both students and colleagues, he is remembered for the pastoral care and support he provided to all the students he worked with.

Born in 1926 in the historic market fishing town of Lowestoft, Suffolk, Peter became an apprentice engineer when he left school. He worked in his hometown and married Joy at the age of 26. His first child, Warrick, was born four years later, around the time that Peter won a bursary to attend New Battle Abbey Educational Institute in Scotland, where he studied for a Higher Educational Diploma.

His appetite for education wetted, Peter then read Economics and Business Management at Sheffield University. After graduating, he worked for David Brown Motors in Yorkshire as a Training and Management Consultant.

In 1968, Peter took up a post as a Senior Lecturer in the Business School at the University of Sunderland (then Polytechnic), embarking upon what would be a 23-year relationship with the University. Two months later, he moved into Wearmouth Hall as Warden, his family home and the focus of his professional passion for the University of Sunderland over the next 23 years. Peter's wife, son and newly-born daughter, Joanne, joined him in 1969.

As Senior Lecturer and Warden, Peter forged important and long-lasting relationships with both students and colleagues. Traditionally an all male residence, Peter campaigned hard for female students to be admitted to Wearmouth to reflect the mixed sex, cosmopolitan make-up of the University. What started as an experimental trial was an undisputed success and female students became a permanent feature of the Hall.

Peter undertook his duties as the provider of pastoral support for students at Wearmouth with enormous dedication. In the 1970s, he also took great pride in attending the formal evening dinners, where he would sit with his family, various members of staff and invited guests.

Dr Iain Coleman, a student studying pharmacology in the 1970s, remembers the black tie events with great affection: "Peter was magnificent his humour was wide ranging and topical, all without notes. He really enjoyed a joke and, as a skilled raconteur, he provoked a lot of mirth on those occasions."

Like Iain, students regarded Peter as a true master of ceremony. Unfortunately, the once daily dinners fell to three times a week by the end of the 1970s, and then to just Christmas dinner in the 1980s.

"Peter never intruded on our social life as students, but he loved to be invited along," said Iain. This popularity was reflected by the various events that Peter was invited to, and there are numerous fond memories of his much appreciated attendance. As a Senior Lecturer in Business at Sunderland, Peter contributed enormously to the University's academic excellence and his talents were sorely missed when he and his family moved from Sunderland back to Lowestoft in 1991. This was a time of mixed emotions for all of his family. They left many unforgettable memories behind at Wearmouth Hall but also looked forward to returning to their home town.

Joanne Hale, Peter's daughter, said that her father relished, in particular, her mother's happiness at returning home.

Peter maintained strong links with many of his colleagues and students from Sunderland and will remain alive in the hearts of all those he touched.

With special thanks to Joanne Hale for her help with this article.

(This article originally appeared in Bridge magazine, in 2007).

Wearmouth Hall from Leisure Centre

Wearmouth Hall views from leisure Centre.

RAG week 1973 - From flat at Wearmouth Hall

RAG week, 1973. Views from flat at Wearmouth Hall. 

Wearmouth Hall 1968

Click her to view our Wearmouth Hall memories section.

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