We Met at King’s: Amanda and Andrew Woodward

Amanda and Andrew Woodward

Andrew (English Language & Literature, 1983) and Amanda (Pharmacology, 1985) met at King’s in 1981. Early married life in Japan was followed by 20 years in the Middle East. They talk about their links with King’s.  

Mandy: We met when I arrived at Halliday Hall, the halls of residence opposite Clapham Common, that sadly no longer exists. My whole family was in tow, and Andy initially thought it was my sister who was the new student! I was just about to start at King’s College Medical School, although I ended up transferring to do a BSc in Pharmacology.

Andy: I was in the second year of my English degree and had been appointed social secretary of Halliday, which meant I got to spend another year there. I really enjoyed showing Mandy around; at one point I had her whole family bouncing up and down on the sprung floor of the hall!

Mandy: The hall had, in its heyday, been a dancefloor. I thought it was rather odd to be jumping up and down, but thought “Ok, I’ll go along with this”; it was the funniest picture to see us there and is a great memory now.

Andy: I knew that there was a spark between us the first day we met, but our first proper date came a couple of weeks later when we went to see Roman Polanski's take on "Tess of the D'Urbervilles”.

Mandy: I didn’t realise at the time that we went to see this film as part of Andy’s studies! We’ve now been together for 35 years.

Andy: We got engaged when I left King’s and started my first job as a graduate trainee at the General Accident Insurance Company. An office circular went around asking if anyone would be interested in working overseas, so I signed it and forgot all about it. A few months later, I was called into my boss’s office and was offered a posting in Japan; six weeks later, we were there.

Mandy: We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on the plane to Tokyo, via Alaska. Unfortunately, because of visa restrictions, I couldn’t work. However I did manage to fill our three years there immersing myself in Japanese Culture and expat life. Our first child, Patrick, was born there in 1988 in Aiku hospital, Tokyo. The last twenty or so years have been spent solely in the Middle East, but we’ve lived in seven different countries and visited many more. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in May this year, and we have King’s to thank for our very long and happy union.

Andy: The whole university experience is something that you never forget and can never recapture, and King’s is still very much part of our lives. We’re fortunate to have been able to stay in touch with friends we made while we were there, and for our children to have grown up together.

Mandy: While we have kept in touch with several old friends, overseas life pre-wifi has meant that we’ve also lost contact with a great many. We'd love to catch up with those and are looking forward to returning to London in five years’ time to rekindle happy memories of our old life in central London – and finding out if Ormes wine bar is still there! We have missed a great many things over the years, but I don’t think either of us would swap it for the amazing experiences we’ve had and the fascinating people we’ve met along the way.

Andy: Our secret to a happy marriage – and for surviving ex-pat life – is not to take life too seriously; if you can laugh, you can make your way through anything.