Ha’way back the lads - and lasses! Norwegians return to Sunderland more than 50 years on from their student days

(Left- right) Carl Frederik Selmer, Oyvind Kirsebom and Tor Samuelsen.
(Left- right) Carl Frederik Selmer, Oyvind Kirsebom and Tor Samuelsen.

It’s the city that gets right to the heart of you.

Sunderland has made a big impression on tens of thousands of people - and especially these six Norwegians who returned to their old university stomping ground from more than 50 years ago.

(left-right) Karin and Tor Samuelsen, Carl Frederik Selmer and wife Kirsten, Tove and Oyvind Kirsebom.

(left-right) Karin and Tor Samuelsen, Carl Frederik Selmer and wife Kirsten, Tove and Oyvind Kirsebom.

They remembered the days when they had a translation book ... so they could order beer!

They all made a special visit from their homes in Oslo to take another look at the University of Sunderland.

And what did they think of Wearside?

Carl Frederik Selmer and his wife Kirsten, whose son was born while staying in Roker, said: “We absolutely loved it here, the people were so friendly, we loved the city and the seafront, there was so much to do - the memories we made have never left us.”

We absolutely loved it here, the people were so friendly, we loved the city and the seafront, there was so much to do - the memories we made have never left us

Carl Frederik Selmer

Oyvind Kirsebom was here with his wife Tove and they loved their flat off Chester Road. Tove was editor of the Norwegian paper Dovre, while her husband studied.

Tor Samuelsen, who met his wife Karin after returning to Norway, said: “It’s been great to be back, we had such a great time and remember there was such a large community of Norwegian students at the Sunderland at the time.”

Tor Samuelsen, whose business was in corrosion in water pipes in the oil industry, said: “Coming to Sunderland had a great impact on all of us.

“When we began studying here 50 years ago we didn’t know each other but became lifelong friends. The people were incredibly friendly and welcoming and we have nothing but good memories. We loved a drink in the Wearmouth bar and a walk along the beach!”

Per Johansen, �yvind Kirsebom and Knut Andersen on Chester Road in 1967.

Per Johansen, �yvind Kirsebom and Knut Andersen on Chester Road in 1967.

He added: “We have been so impressed with the changes that have taken place at the university, the facilities are fantastic.

“The city also looks great now, but we were shocked the Vaux Brewery was no longer there.”

The three graduates, who lived in Sunderland between 1967 and 1972, made the three-day trip, taking a tour of Sunderland’s campuses to see the changes that

have taken place since they studied their HND,CNNA and Newcastle degrees in Mechanical Engineering four decades ago, when the university was still a polytechnic.

Entertainment time for the students in Sunderland.

Entertainment time for the students in Sunderland.

The group, who carved out successful careers since graduating, running their own individual engineering businesses before retiring, were impressed by the new developments on campus and changes in the City itself.

When they first arrived, they were taught in Wearmouth Hall, which is now the University’s CitySpace sports and social facility in Chester Road.

This is the friends’ second reunion at Sunderland in 30 years. They have also been sharing photos, stories and even poems from their happy time on

campus, from ragweek, to their students union, even a translation book on ordering beer.

As part of their tour, the Norwegians also visited the University’s state-of-the-art engineering facilities at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. Dave Knapton, Acting Head of School for Engineering, said: “It’s great to see students have such strong links and fond

memories of their time in Sunderland and return after all these years.”

More entertainment from the Sunderland students.

More entertainment from the Sunderland students.

Tove Kirsebom was 'knighted' in 1973 due to her work with the Norwegian students' newspaper.

Tove Kirsebom was 'knighted' in 1973 due to her work with the Norwegian students' newspaper.

The board in the Norwegian Students Union in 1972.

The board in the Norwegian Students Union in 1972.

Rag Week at Sunderland  in the 1970s.

Rag Week at Sunderland in the 1970s.

Norwegian students take a look at �yvind Kirsebom and Tove's baby boy.

Norwegian students take a look at �yvind Kirsebom and Tove's baby boy.