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Catching up with... Hilary Wells

Hilary and her BIT buddies from KingstonHilary Wells (née Dresser) joined the Business School at Kingston Polytechnic in 1988 and graduated from Kingston University in 1992 with a BSc(Hons) in Business Information Technology (BIT). A former Olympic canoeist, she is back at Kingston working part-time as a communications consultant.

What do you remember about your time at Kingston?

Camaraderie, pizza and graduation day.

It was a bit touch and go at the beginning – I had just left Millfield School and although my sporting and social CV was A1, my academic one wasn't. A friend of mine was already on the BIT course. She would show me all the worksheets she would have to do and it really looked fun so I gave the University a call. The course was oversubscribed but I got in and learnt a good lesson; be persistent if it's something you really want.

Tell us about the canoeing?

I started canoeing when I left school. I progressed quite quickly and in 1992 I was selected for the British canoe team for the Barcelona Olympics. Walking out into the stadium at the opening ceremony in Barcelona is the proudest moment of my life.

Which lecturers do you remember and why?

I particularly remember Stuart FitzGerald and Walter Skok; they were both great. They helped me balance my studies and my sport. It's a big challenge trying to do both and as a student you really need support.

What are you doing now?

Hilary with husband Paul and son HarryI worked for British Aerospace on my work placement and got a taste for the big corporate environment. I went on to work at SEEBOARD plc and IBM. I left IBM when I had my son and started up as a freelancer. I now work as a freelance communications specialist. I've worked with local businesses, large PR companies and sports stars. Currently I am back at Kingston, working in external communications.

When I'm not working I spend time with my husband Paul, who is my absolute rock. He was also a pretty good canoeist himself winning the World Championships in marathon canoeing. Our son Harry, nine, is also, not surprisingly, sporty so we enjoy keeping fit together.

Are you still in touch with other Kingston alumni?

Yes. I met my two best friends at Kingston. They were also on the BIT course – Jane Marsh and Becky Shepherd (née Lee), and we've met every couple of months since 1992.

If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?

I would have had my parents closer. They worked for the Foreign Office and my brother and I were at boarding school from the ages of eight to 18. We only saw them in the holidays, in whatever country they lived in at the time.

What's your ideal weekend?

I would be on the river early to miss the rowers – canoeists hate rowers as they go backwards and never see us – then have lunch in a riverside cafe with Paul and Harry. On Sunday I'd watch Harry play rugby, and then go to the movies with girlfriends in the evening.

Tell us something we would never guess about you?

I can do the Rubik's cube and I play the piano and the clarinet.

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