e-Matters - 4th March 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

Welcome to this edition of E-Matters, coming to you in the penultimate week of term.

With Ukraine very much in our minds, this edition covers how the House is supporting students and staff and information about how the Common Rooms are raising funds in support of relief efforts.

This edition also features some of the exciting research being under taken by members of the SCR, and announces the return of two events: the Varsity Matches event in April and the Cathedral Choir tour, the first since 2019, in Sweden in May.

We look forward this month to seeing members of the year groups 1960, 1961, 1962, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1991, 1992 and 2002 who are returning for two Reunion dinners, and those who went down last year who will be welcomed back to the new ‘Returners’ Dinner’.

Congratulations and thanks to those alumni who have shared with their news and achievements with us. Please do get in touch if you would like your news to appear in a future edition.

With all best wishes,

Philippa Roberts
Development Director

News from Alumni

Chapter HouseUkraine - The House's response

We, like all the world, have been deeply shocked and saddened by the unprovoked outbreak of war in Ukraine during this past week, and we wish to express our thoughts and support to all those affected.

Many members of the Christ Church community have come together to take action. The JCR passed an emergency motion to donate £1000 to the International Rescue Committee, and the GCR are donating a further £1000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross. A group fundraiser has also been created by the students, to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which combines 13 charities' fundraising efforts and is being matched by the UK Government.

An initial group fundraiser to the British Red Cross has already raised £545. 

However, to make the most of the Government’s matched funding, the students have opened a new justgiving page. 

Alumni, family, and friends are invited to donate in any capacity they can to add to students’ contributions. The link to the fundraiser can be found here. 

In addition to financial support, the College community has come together to offer one another empathy, resilience, and a space to process such unjustifiable violence.

Students, staff, and friends were welcomed to a vigil in the Chapter House last Thursday, a space for quiet and reflection, in which our community offered prayers, remembrance and thoughts for all those living in uncertainty.

The Cathedral has lit a candle on the Shrine of St Frideswide (whose name means ‘strong peace’) and it will remain burning as long as this crisis lasts. All are welcome to come into the Cathedral anytime between 7am and 7pm to light a candle, visit the shrine, offer a prayer or just sit in the quiet. The Cathedral’s regular services will all be offering prayers for this situation as well.  

The GCR will also be holding a Charity Formal in Hall on Monday, in aid of the Ukrainian relief effort. There will be a minute of silence after grace and a box for donations to The Ukraine Crisis Appeal by the British Red Cross will be available. Attendees are invited to dress in yellow and blue, and we are also hoping to light up Tom Tower in blue and yellow on that evening.

Many members of the community were also present for a protest in Radcliffe Square, alongside hundreds of people from across Oxford. Anyone wishing to know more about the protest can read the Cherwell’s article here: https://cherwell.org/2022/02/27/ukraine-protest2/.   

The University’s response to the invasion of Ukraine, including advice and support for staff, students and alumni impacted, can be found here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/university-response-invasion-ukraine.  

We would again like to express our strong support for the people of Ukraine, and all those affected by this unprovoked and senseless tragedy. 


Mars technology field-tested in Antarctica before planetary space missions

Photo of Ben FernandoChrist Church’s Access Fellow, Dr Ben Fernando, has been testing seismometer technology in Antarctica, in preparation for its use on icy moons within the Solar System.

Originally developed for the NASA Insight mission to Mars, the short-period seismic sensor is being tested to see how it might perform in the hostile conditions found on the frozen moons of Saturn and Jupiter.

The Antarctic deployment is the first in what is hoped to be a series of extreme environment tests for the short-period sensor – a seismometer that records the high-frequency (high pitched) seismic waves generated by movement in the ice sheets.

Click here to read full article.


International Day of Women in Science, 2022: Meet Dr Becky Smethurst

Photo of Becky SmethurstFebruary 11th marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

The day's purpose is to promote full and equal access to participation in science for women and girls, and we wanted to highlight just one of the many routes into a fulfilling science career, as taken by Christ Church Junior Research Fellow Dr Becky Smethurst.

Self-styled Dr Becky, recently recognised by the Royal Astronomical Society, is an astrophysicist researching galaxies and supermassive black holes.

Becky has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s 2022 Winton Award for Astronomy, in recognition of her work on supermassive black holes. Click here to read the full article.




Photo of Leah BroadDr Leah Broad: Forgotten Voices: Women Composers in Song

Dr Leah Broad, Junior Research Fellow in Music, is one of the key speakers at Oxford Lieder's Spring Song Festival. The festival will take place in person from 17th to 20th March at Oxford’s historic Holywell Music Room and in the new concert hall at Trinity College.

This year’s Spring Song focuses on women composers, the countless gifted figures who vanished from the recital stages. Dr Leah Board will be speaking at a lecture-recital on 20th March, where she and other speakers celebrate and explore songs by four composers: Hedwige Chrétien, Margarete Schweikert, Elizabeth Maconchy and Johanna Müller-Hermann, showing how their music both fitted into and challenged expectations of song composition in their day. 

Click here to find out more.


Christ Church Boat Races Event

RowingMembers and Friends are invited to watch the Boat Races with us at the historic Bull's Head pub in Barnes. We have booked the upstairs room, with its splendid view over the Thames, on Sunday 3rd April from 1pm to 5.30pm.

The Bull’s Head is shortly after the 3-mile mark, and ChCh alum will have front row seats to see some Housewomen and Housemen rowing, and some Dark Blue victories. There will also be a screen showing full coverage of the race.

We have had to promise a minimum spend to secure the room, so intend offering a Sunday roast and other food, as well as drinks. Tickets are £60 per person.

Book now: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/christ-church-boat-races-event-tickets-287847097417




VarsityChrist Church Varsity Matches Event

We are delighted to announce that the Varsity Matches will return to Twickenham this season after the visit to Welford Road, Leicester, in July for the 2021 matches. Tickets are already on sale for the ‘Battle of the Blues’ on Saturday 2nd April 2022. This will be the first time the Varsity Matches will be played on a Saturday for 75 years, and thus a great opportunity to come along to Twickenham with family and friends.

Christ Church is pleased to offer Members and Friends an alternative of easy return transport to Twickenham Stadium, a picnic lunch in the West carpark, and refreshments throughout the day.  
Our luxury coach will depart from Oxford and pick up members and friends at:

  1. Thornhill Park and Ride (Headington) at 9.30am, and from
  2. Acton Town Tube Station at 10.45am. The station is served by the District and Piccadilly lines and is in Travelcard Zone 3.

The coach will aim to arrive at the stadium by 11.30am, and will remain at the West Car Park. It will be used as the base for food and drinks throughout the day, including elevenses; a picnic lunch; tea after the Match; and (celebratory, we hope!) drinks on the return journey. Please note that hot drinks will not be available at the coach.

For event and booking information, please see this flyer.


Oxford Study Skills CentreImpact of the pandemic on education

With widespread educational disruption caused by the pandemic, Christ Church is aware that current and incoming students may be finding it difficult to cope with the demands involved in adjusting to higher education.

From the beginning of this academic year, important new supportive resources have been made available to students, including a Study Skills section of the website, but in response to feedback from undergraduates, the House is keen to do more.

Working with the Oxford Study Skills Centre at LMH, we plan to provide training for up to three postgraduate students per year from different fields to receive training to run in-college study skills sessions for students from all subjects. These students will join a Study Skills Support Team, led by Postdoctoral Access and Student Support Fellow, Dr Ben Fernando. We would also like CSSC staff to run large-scale sessions in College and to provide specific support for students with additional needs.

Last year we opened a Covid-19 Student Support Fund to provide assistance for a range of activities for the JCR and MCR and are grateful to all of you who contributed. This fund remains open and we welcome further donations towards the educational support needed by our students post-pandemic: https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/alumni/covid-19-student-support-fund.

From the Cathedral Music Trust...

ChoirsThe Cathedral Choir will be visiting Sweden this coming Trinity Term from 21 May–28 May.  As you may imagine, to be able to revisit the idea of this tour after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, is a great joy.  The tour will include a total of five major concerts highlighting music with a Christ Church connection in Stockholm, Uppsala, and Rättvik. Additionally, there are special events for alumni and Music Trust friends planned in Stockholm, including a boat tour of the archipelago featuring exclusive onboard singing by the Choir, a guided tour of the Museum of Modern Art, and a talk by James Vaux on the role of ‘Swedish Modern’ design as political weapon of the Cold War.  We look forward to sharing with you the joy of music through the venerable choral tradition of the House and invite your support to ensure the success of this tour.


Cellar Wine Release

ChCh CaseGiven the popularity of our Christ Church English sparkling wine offering last year, the Buttery is once again opening the cellar door. 

A case of fine wine from the cellars, in a limited run Christ Church wooden case, to include two whites, two red, a sparkling and a sweet:

  • Meursault, M Bouzereau 2016
  • 'Paradis St Pierre' St Joseph blanc, Domaine Coursodon 2016
  • Pommard 1er cru 'Clos de Verger' Domaine Billard-Gonnet 2010
  • Chateau Leoville Las Cases, Saint Julien 2004
  • Christ Church English Sparkling Rosé 2018
  • Chateau Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes 2009

Total is £300 including shipping to mainland UK; unfortunately, we cannot ship overseas at this point. Please place your order on https://chchwinecellar.creventa.app/menu, and include your address.

The website will make you pick a timeslot for delivery, but please do not take this as accurate, as we use a third-party courier.

House Marmalade and House Tea

House MarmaladeWe are delighted to announce the launch of our ‘No Peel’ and ‘Peel’ House marmalade and our ‘House Tea’. The former has been produced by our talented chefs in the college kitchen to a recipe created by alumna, Claudia Daventry (1983). Our ‘No Peel’ marmalade is packed full of flavour and made with the finest Seville oranges: a dark, rich flavour with bitter notes complimented by a subtle sweetness. The ‘Peel’ version is thick cut and juicy, with a mouth-watering burst of citrus flavour. Perfect for your morning toast! 

House TeaAnd what better than to serve it with the new ‘House Tea’ which has been blended for us by artisan producer, Twist Teas, using ethically-sourced Assam tea-leaves. This Flowery Orange Pekoe tea is made from the end bud and first leaf of each shoot. It contains fine, tender young leaves with buds or tips (a mark of quality tea). The large proportionate of golden tips in this premium quality tea produces a delicate, malty, high quality golden liquor. 

The House Marmalade and House Tea can be purchased from the college shop, at the Visitor Centre or online.

Click here to buy House Marmalade and House Tea.

The Gardener's Blog: Spring is coming!

Double snowdropWith lengthening days and warmer temperatures, we will be seeing more and more spring flowers start to appear in the college gardens and Christ Church Meadow. Some of these such as the areas of spring bedding in School Quad and the Rose Garden are very formal in nature, whereas other areas such as the Meadow and in the Pococke Garden are much more natural in appearance.

The season starts with snowdrops and winter aconites as well as a few crocuses and even some daffodils. There is a particularly early patch of daffodils in the Pococke Garden which this year started to open up around New Year’s Day, although one year it made an appearance in November!

Click here to continue reading John James' Blog.



News from AlumniPhoto of Peter Chenery

New Year's Honours List 2022

Congratulations to Mr Peter J Chenery on his award in this year's New Year Honours List.

Peter Chenery (1964, History) was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) by the Queen in the New Year Honours List for his work as Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Anniversary Trust, a charity responsible for The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education within the honours system. The Prizes are granted every two years by The Queen to recognise excellence, innovation and beneficial work by UK universities and colleges. Previously Mr Chenery was the British Council's Director in Canada. 



Professor James Moon wins International Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Gold Medal Award

Photo of Professor James MoonProfessor James Moon (1992) has been awarded the International Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) Gold Medal Award.

This is the highest award given by SCMR to an individual for distinguished and extraordinary services to the field of CMR. There have only even been 18 previous recipients over the 11 years of its existence, of whom only 5 were European. One of the prior recipients is Professor Stefan Neubauer, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Christ Church.

Professor Moon is an internationally recognised leader in cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR). His contributions to CMR have enabled the UK to remain at the centre of global research and clinical applications.

He has recently set up four MRI units (currently delivering a combined annual volume of approximately 12,500 CMR scans), is a past President of British Society of CMR, led the national tariff negotiations for CMR and leads multiple important cross-institutional UK CMR research collaborations.

Globally he has widened access to CMR via his work with RapidCMR in low- and middle-income countries in Peru, Argentina, Cuba, India, and South Africa where the focus was on empowering local clinicians and centres to ensure that the services were sustainable, delivering the clinical utility to patients’ long term.

He is also a prolific lecturer who has contributed hundreds of recorded lectures to the British Society of CMR. 

Click here to learn more about the award.


Hywel Clifford (2000): Wedding at the House

Hywel and Helen Clifford

Hywel and Helen Clifford were married at St. Andrew’s Church (north Oxford) on Saturday 14th August 2021. In what turned out to be a warm and sunny day, the cautionary Covid-19 restrictions at the church did not spoil the joyous occasion. Family and friends visited from near and far, while others watched the ceremony via a live link from abroad.

The couple then made their way to Christ Church, where Hywel was a graduate student in Theology (2000–05). After drinks ‘n’ canapés in the Master’s Garden, and photos in the cathedral cloisters and Tom Quad, everyone gathered for a delicious reception in the Freind Room. As well as a Petrarchan-style sonnet, the groom’s speech included this limerick verse:

This day will remain with us ever,
when English joined Welsh – well I never!
Church, garden, then dining,
friends and family reclining,
raise your glass “To the bridesmaids” together!

Hywel Clifford and familyHywel and Helen, who have since set up home near Oxford, met for their first date under Tom Tower, and departed from the same spot for their honeymoon, on the Isle of Skye, into the next chapters of their lives together. They left a honeyed, sun-kissed quad. That day, the House as host was resplendent. They heartily recommend it as a venue!



Klaudia Chmielowska (2017): Lafiya Nigeria

Lafiya NigeriaMore than 222 million women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe and voluntary family planning. Nearly 90 000 women die each year from complications of unintended pregnancies. By using a cost-effective and community-based distribution model, Lafiya Nigeria provides women and girls with access to contraception and information about family planning. 

Who are we?

Lafiya Nigeria is a global health non-profit organization that seeks to empower women and girls through access to contraception. We work with Nigerian female health professionals to spread that awareness of the benefits of family planning in their local communities and act as a last-mile delivery of the contraceptive. We operate in far-to-reach communities that do not have any other access to contraceptive products and information.

Why does family planning matter?

  • Human right: The United Nations have decreed access to family planning products and information as an inalienable human right that women should be able to access. Family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.
  • Health benefits: The use of contraception prevents pregnancy-related health risks for women, especially for adolescent girls. By reducing rates of unintended pregnancies, family planning also reduces the need for unsafe abortion. Family planning can prevent closely spaced and ill-timed pregnancies and births, which contribute to some of the worlds highest infant mortality rates. Infants of mothers who die as a result of giving birth also have a greater risk of death and poor health.
  • Social impact: Family planning represents an opportunity for women to pursue additional education and participate in public life, including paid employment in non-family organisations. Access to family planning products and information is especially important for adolescent girls that are still in schooling. Delaying pregnancy and child-bearing have direct effects on their schooling years and projected life earnings

What can you do?

Lafiya Nigeria has a great potential to scale and benefit millions of women. Our pilot results show that our model works better than any other family planning initiative in that region and we want to keep on working and expanding. We are looking for donations and volunteers to help us grow. Please find us on our website (www.lafiyanigeria.org) or social media and donate or get in touch with our team.

Anthony Gladstone-Thompson (1962): Mauresque

Book cover of MauresqueAnthony Gladstone-Thompson (1962) introduces his latest book Mauresque:

"What sanctions our taking up residence in another country and involving ourselves in its inhabitants’ affairs? Jeremy Ashland, an idealistic and headstrong English teacher, comes to Morocco in the early 1970s, determined to be accepted as an enlightened foreigner at a time when its people, traditionally obsessed by memories of their own once Fortunate Empire, are emerging from the trauma of colonialism. As invaders, settlers or orientalists, Europeans had for generations made Morocco their plaything; underlying Jeremy’s progress and the story of his forbidden love for a Moroccan girl is the tension between such interlopers and Moroccans themselves, whose conflicting championship of their country’s nationhood he becomes tragically embroiled in.

With its evocative descriptions of Morocco and Moroccan life and times, Mauresque is a love letter to the country as well as immersing the reader in a world of clandestine relationships, political intrigue, drug smuggling and sorcery."
Click here to order Mauresque.


Dr Ali Foxon (1994): The Green Sketching Handbook

Photo of Dr Ali FoxonDr Ali Foxon shares with us her latest book, The Green Sketching Handbook.

We all know that nature and creativity are good for our wellbeing, yet so many of us struggle to find the time or motivation to step away from our screens. How can we pay more attention to the nature in our lives?

The Green Sketching HandbookIt’s a well-kept secret that the best way to see something is to sketch it. The trouble is most of us are convinced we can’t draw and haven’t time to learn. The idea of keeping a beautifully illustrated nature journal seems intimidating and unrealistic. But there’s a solution! Combining quick and easy exercises with the latest research on nature connection, wellbeing and creativity, The Green Sketching Handbook will motivate and encourage you to pick up a pencil and get started. 

Inspired by my own journey, from geographer and climate change advisor to self-taught artist and nature lover, I will show you how to embrace your wobbly lines, unhook from a fear of criticism and create a habit that makes you feel good, not inadequate. You will learn more about yourself and your unique relationship with nature, finding out what brings you most comfort and joy. Best of all, I will show you how to create vivid and evocative memories of all your outdoor adventures, big and small, even if you’re convinced you can’t draw.

The Green Sketching Handbook will be available in April 2022. Click here to pre-order The Green Sketching Handbook.


Sir Crispin Tickell (1930–2022)

Photo of Sir Crispin TickellSir Crispin Tickell (1949), alumnus of Christ Church, passed away on 25th January 2022.

Sir Crispin Tickell, who has died of pneumonia aged 91, was a career diplomat. He advised four prime ministers, had formidable intellect and displayed impeccable timing when intervening in policy. Sir Crispin was a leading international authority on climate change and environmental issues, and the author of and contributor to many publications. He was best-known for his environmentalism and engagement with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, including prior to her world-famous speech to the Royal Society in 1988, when she spoke about global warming well ahead of most leaders.

Click here to read Sir Crispin Tickell's obituary in the Guardian.

Alumni Poetry

Storm Brewing inside The Calm
By Dr Hemal Jayasuriya (1978)

Blue green, unrippling, calm;
It seems like Bali Hai time in the South Pacific.
All is quiet, serene
On the stilled ocean front.
In the succeeding moment
Chaos emerges from a sudden fit breaking loose
From the explosive rumblings of fiery innards
Thrusting up from a quescient
Underwater front dancing to the tune
Of randomness furiously at work
Beneath the canopy that delineates
The seen from the illogical unseen.
One State transforms to another
In a jittery slice of Time    
Upthrusting a smoking volcanic island
Adorned by a burning anger
Screaming out spewing orange flames