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Students at Bath College threw writer and former lecturer Richard Ingham an 80th birthday party to remember at The Shrubbery Restaurant.


The restaurant, on James Street West, is run by catering and hospitality students at Bath College.


Seventy guests tucked into an eight-course menu inspired by popular dishes through the decades and sang for their supper between each course.


During the evening, guests donated £750 to the charity Dream Big Ghana, which builds compostable toilets in villages in Ghana.




The evening started in the 1930s with Martini cocktails and finished in the year 2000 with coffee and cupcakes.


Students prepared a modern twist on 1940s rabbit pie, 1950s Brown Windsor Soup, and 1970s boil in the bag cod.


Mr Ingham, of Devonshire Place, Bath, taught at Chippenham Technical College and his wife Jacqui Buffton served as vice-chair of Bath College’s governing body for many years.


The 80-year-old plays in a blues band, The Amazing Street Band, and was keen to get everyone singing songs by Vera Lynn, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.


Matt Finch, teaching and learning manager at Bath College, led the singing and provided musical accompaniment.


Mr Ingham said: “The evening was absolutely magical.


“We’ve had a few birthday parties at the college over the years, because we’re interested in further education and because the college has provided such a great service.


“College staff were integral to the planning of this extraordinary event and the students were better than good – really skillfull and caring.


“The food was wonderful. We gave them a challenge and they were all up for it.”


Chris and Sally Croudace collected the cheque for £750 on behalf of their son Dougal, who set up the charity Dream Big Ghana in 2009.




The former Frome College pupil went on a gap year to Ghana and fell in love with the fishing villages of Dzita and Agbledomi.


He founded Dream Big Ghana to give villagers somewhere safe and hygienic to go to the toilet. After a year, the compost can be used to fertilise crops grown by the villagers.


Dougal also runs a not-for-profit eco-lodge, which attracts volunteers and placement students from around the world.


His dad Chris said: “The birthday bash held at Bath College was such good fun.


“The icing on the cake was the wonderful sum of £750 raised by Richard and his friends for another compostable toilet.


“It’s only through the active support of people like them that villagers in Dzita and Agbledomi have access to a proper loo and the hand washing facilities they need to be healthy.”


Bridget Halford, head of hospitality and catering at Bath College, said: “It was a pleasure to cater for Richard and his family.


“They have a strong connection with the college – we also catered for Richard’s 70th birthday party. The students worked hard and did themselves proud.”

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