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Peter Absolon (BA Geography 1982)

Biography

I am the General Manager of ReadiBus, which is the alternative bus service in Reading for people with restricted mobility.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

Peter Absolon with friendsI was more interested in ‘Human Geography’ than ‘Physical Geography’ and Reading was one of only two universities that offered Human Geography separately. I think the other one was Dundee so Reading was a lot closer and rather chose itself in that regard. The weather at the open day did its best to dissuade me, but thankfully it didn’t put me off. (Pictured: Peter (far right) with friends from University, c. 1984)

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

In those days there was St David’s Hall, a non-residential hall for students who weren’t living on campus. For those of us in bed and breakfast when we first arrived, it was home and good company and the best bit about living in Reading. The studying was a good balance between lecture and library and, statistics apart, was always interesting!

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Speak to as many people as possible because everyone is in the same boat. When you leave, don’t lose touch with the friends that you have made. They will be friends who you will be able to trust and rely upon for the rest of your life.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

Peter Absolon with friends 2I first joined ReadiBus in 1982 a few months after graduating, leaving in 1984 to work in south Manchester for a few years before returning to ReadiBus as Co-ordinator in 1987, the post re-named to General Manager some time later. I’ve been here ever since. (Pictured: Peter (far right) with friends from University, 2012)

How has the University of Reading helped in your chosen career path?

Studying at Reading broadened my horizons and helped to develop a desire for a career that involved helping others. It was my tutor who pointed me in the direction of volunteering for the then Voluntary Service Council in Reading, which at the time had just initiated a new ground-breaking ‘first of its kind’ project called ReadiBus, spawned from student research at Reading University. The Chairs of ReadiBus have been from the University and I have had great support from them and others at the University whilst I have been General Manager.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

It’s where I gained a broader perspective and level of understanding of the World and the people in it…and a desire to go and see more of it. It helped to make me want to make a difference in some, however small, way.

My favourite memories are of the great friendships that have lasted a lifetime and the camaraderie of St Davids.

 

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