Audrey Raistrick

Retired lecturer and seasoned campaigner, Audrey Raistrick, studied speech and drama in
the 1950s and taught in the 1960s, at Bradford Technical College.

Audrey RaistrickAudrey’s schooldays were cut short when she was evacuated, aged 13, at the outbreak of war in 1939. On returning home she worked in a shoe shop and at the New Vic Theatre, but classes at Bradford Technical College set the
stage for a rewarding career.

“My wonderful parents taught me a lot but I realised that if I wanted to proceed I would have to learn to articulate. I came to Bradford Technical College in the 1950s to study speech and drama, achieving the LAMDA Gold medal. My teacher, Fred Slack, encouraged me to join the Bradford Civic Playhouse and I appeared in productions there for 10 years, as well taking part in College productions. Many of those I played with have since become household names, including George Layton, Duncan Preston, Gordon Kaye and Billie Whitelaw.”

Audrey showed such promise that when Fred had to attend a course he asked her to cover some of his classes. Her success prompted an invitation from the Principal to teach throughout the college campus. She gained her Technical Teaching Certificate and taught English, Communications and General Studies to day release students.

Audrey’s flair for enticing the best from students was demonstrated in a delightful book of poetry written by a group of mechanics in one of her classes. The poems were recently rediscovered and performed at our Founders’ Day Concert in June 2008.

Audrey then spent 25 years teaching at Wakefield District College. She also taught the police at Bishopgarth and prisoners in HMP Wakefield and thoroughly enjoyed working with all her students.

Audrey has always been politically active and in recent years she has become a pensioners’ champion, appearing in TV debates with Jack Straw and David Blunkett She and her husband, Peter, raised funds to set up local charity, Neighbourly Care Bradford, where she is secretary and trustee.

“If opportunities come you have to seize them. Bradford College provided the stimulus for life. It is about attitude and outlook. I have never wasted a moment in my entire life.”

Photograph by Shelagh Ward