Dick and Alby: Finding friendship on the other side of Tin Alley

When you meet Dick Sutcliffe (TC 1957) and Alby Twigg (TC 1951), you have the feeling you are meeting a pair who have been friends their entire life. But in fact, the friendship of Dick and Alby is a fairly recent one, proving that Trinity friendships can begin years after you have left College.

Alby who was a former teacher at Geelong and Melbourne Grammar currently teaches Latin at the U3A Hawthorn, while Dick who was a successful anaesthetist has now retired from medicine and become one of Alby’s Latin students.

‘When I retired I had always been interested in Latin, so I went to see Nigel Creese [former headmaster of Melbourne Grammar] and he interviewed me about Latin for a while and then he said mine’s the senior group, I think it would be better if you went to Alby’s,’ explains Dick.  

Both Dick and Alby knew of each other and had a mutual friend in Dr Taffy Jones (TC 1957) and Alby knew Dick’s sister Judy Sutcliffe (JCH alumna), but until Dick joined Alby’s class, the pair had never met. Alby insists Dick is a good Latin student despite Dick’s protestations.

‘Dick is very good, no good disagreeing with me Dick, he’s very good. They [the students] are all good, they do the work and they do support each other, which is great,’ says Alby.

Dick has maintained a close relationship with Trinity since leaving and regularly attends College events. He has fond memories of his time at the College, particularly the College plays Dark of the Moon and Alice In Wonderlandand his daughter Julie Sutcliffe (TC 1989) is also a College alumna.

Alby, however, has not been quite as ‘rusted on’ to College as Dick is, despite both his children residing at Trinity, Vanessa Twigg (TC 1980) and Jeremy Twigg (TC 1981). In fact, it was while at Trinity that Alby received some advice from his friend and ‘wife’ Michael Cook AO (TC 1950) that had a profound influence on his life.

‘He [Michael Cook] gave me some sound advice in my first year, he said, “just be careful, it’s alright living in Trinity, it’s a good place to live in, it’s not the University of Melbourne, the University is over there, the other side of Tin Alley, you’ve got to become involved.”’

This advice Alby took on board and it wasn’t much later that he met his wife Anne over at the University.

‘I was lucky enough to also have friends who were non-residents and we would often meet up in the café. And then one day I was sitting at the table with a few of these friends who were sitting next to me, and they said we’ve got a CRD coming up in a couple of weeks, CRD was the Common Room Dance. I asked a girl called Sue James and I got knocked back and a fellow sitting on one side of me said, “Why don’t you ask Anne?”. I said, “Who’s Anne?” and he said, “She’s sitting next to you.” I said, “Would you like to come to the CRD?” and she said, “Yes, alright.” We’re still married after 63 years,’ laughs Alby.

Alby’s advice to current students is to maintain those College friendships while also building your community outside of Trinity.

‘I saw people spending almost all their life at College and not really wanting to be involved with life on the other side, you could be involved in both,’ says Alby.

In addition, to their Latin classes, Dick and Alby continue to maintain a close friendship that demonstrates the Trinity community exists beyond your life at College.

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12 Sep 2018