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My Cardiff

Heather and Clive Mann

Heather and Clive Mann have collectively served 74 years at the University, with Clive celebrating his 40th year of service in December 2008. They met at a Cardiff University Staff Association event and later married. Clive works as a technician in the Joint Biological Services Division while Heather works as a Library Operations Manager in the Science and Biomedical Sciences Libraries. This is their story.

Heather and Clive Mann on their Honeymoon in Ibiza 1977

Heather and Clive Mann on their Honeymoon in Ibiza 1977

HEATHER: I would often come to Cardiff on weekends to visit my best friend, who had moved here to train as a Physiotherapist. When I saw a post advertised to work in the Library at the University I applied and soon afterwards I was moving to Cardiff myself. My post was in the newly-created Automation section (now Library Systems team), assisting the Automation Librarian with the changeover from a manual to an automated issue system. We were to be based in the Arts and Social Studies Library but, as this was still being built, I began my University life in the Main Library, located in Main Building. We eventually moved to the Arts and Social Sciences Library when it opened in August 1975. I envisaged that I would stay in Cardiff for two years before moving on - that was until I met Clive, my husband to be.

In 1974, the University’s Staff Association had quite a high profile, and they had arranged a staff-only Christmas party in the Students’ Union, which was to be the first time I met Clive. The chat up line that Clive used was “Do you fancy coming to a Christmas party in Llandaff House?” The party was arranged by Dr Ron Eccles (now Professor) who, in addition to being a lecturer in Physiology, was the warden of this student residence in Penarth. I was heading home to Surrey for Christmas and New Year so we agreed to meet in the New Year instead. As I was unfamiliar with Cardiff, and living in Newport Road, we decided to meet outside Cardiff Royal Infirmary. Clive’s mini was parked at the back of the Infirmary, outside A and E and he stood waiting on the opposite corner, outside the Church, one dark January night! Neither of us thought the other would turn up but we both arrived, and we went to the Criterion pub for a drink. 33 years later, the Criterion has changed ownership several times but we are still together! We got engaged in the Christmas of 1975 and were married in September 1977 (Jubilee year). We have two sons Peter, 27 and Richard who is 21.

If neither of us had worked for the University we wouldn’t have met - the University has played a huge role in both of our lives. It’s definitely a talking point as we both work for the same organisation and it helps because we can both appreciate the problems and the frustrations. The good times however have far outweighed the bad and we thoroughly enjoy working at Cardiff. Time has just flown by. We have witnessed several changes, including staff integration which saw the abolishment of separate common rooms and stairs for academic and non-professional staff (one of my colleagues was once reprimanded for using the main staircase in Main Building!) We have also seen numerous expansions at the University, including 2 mergers (with UWIST in 1988 and UWCM in 2004); it’s exciting as it continues to change and develop. We are both still a long way off from retirement but when we do retire, we wouldn’t want to suddenly leave the University behind. It’s played such a great part of our lives and we have formed many friends over the years that we would certainly miss.

The University has a very strong reputation and it forms an important part of the local community. The University, Cardiff and Wales are very welcoming and friendly places and there is a really good community spirit. Cardiff as a city is fantastic and my family love coming to visit us. We would both like to congratulate Cardiff on its 125th Anniversary and wish it every success for the future. The University’s achievements so far have been tremendous and without it, Clive and I might never have met!

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