CONFERENCE of Independent Further Education chairman David Lowe was in for a nostalgic surprise when he arrived at the Arundel Hilton Hotel for his association's annual conference at the weekend.
The hotel, now complete with golf course and flower-power grounds, used to be the Avisford Roman Catholic preparatory school, where he was given his first teaching job (history and maths) in 1972. The wooden-panelled walls of the dining room still bear the names of pupils. Lowe, as excitedas a boy, made straight for one of the panels. "This used to open out to the kitchen," he said and pulled. It opened, but displayed only shelves full of bottles of HP sauce. An even greater surprise awaited him. The room he was allocated in the hotel was the one he occupied as a young teacher nearly 30 years ago. Neither he nor the CIFE officers who made the booking had suspected the hotel's origins. Coincidence? Fate? Said Lowe: "Let's just call it a very pleasant surprise."