Studying, Meeting, Marrying...

Rob and Bridget Farrand on their visit to campus 2024

Husband and wife, Rob and Bridget Farrands recently returned to Bailrigg to visit their alma mater which brings back many memories for them and provided the foundation for their life and careers together. Here they talk about how they met and what they went on to do after leaving Lancaster.


In 1967 Rob started at LU in Cartmel College reading History where, at that time it was still under construction so the university was in the town.

In 1968 Bridget started at LU in Cartmel College reading Politics, by then, established at Bailrigg. In 1969, during a lunch break in Bowland JCR where they happened to bump into each other – over a Chorley Cake and coffee. Attracted to each other, they started dating. Four years later they were married and last year they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Apart from being parents, a key part of their life together has been the opportunity to help found a leadership centre in the USA. In 1992 they started to work with an American couple – Edwin and Sonia Nevis - on Cape Cod, near Boston, who wanted to establish a centre based on Gestalt principles for couples, families and leaders to study and learn there.

Rob took charge of the leadership component of the curriculum and Bridget managed the coaching elements. They bought a house near the Centre and continued to work and live some of each year there until 2014, by which time both Edwin and Sonia had died. The Centre, though, is still thriving and the leadership programme Rob helped to establish continues to this day.

A sad postscript to our joint stories and shared life is the loss to cancer, aged 29, of their eldest daughter, Alice.


"When I left LU I had no idea what I wanted to do by way of a job or career. But at that time there were three jobs for every graduate, so there was no pressure to immediately decide, which left me open to take advantage of opportunities as they arose…..quite a different career planning approach than exists today! And probably explains how the 50 years of my working life is hard to categorise.

As a result, my working life has included a wide variety of work – as a researcher of political stability in African states, a manager in a manufacturing company, a marital psychotherapist, a leadership consultant and coach, an author of a leading work on transitions (Leadership Transitions: How business leaders take charge in new roles 2012 published by Kogan Page), a teacher of leadership and coaching in business schools and client organisations, a founder of four different companies and a mother to one daughter and two sons.

Fifteen years ago Rob and I joined forces to form a company in which we worked together in the UK and internationally. It has been very successful and provided us with stimulating work – both in how to be a professional couple as well as a married couple at the same time".


"Leaving LU with two surprising achievements – a steady relationship with a beautiful girlfriend and an upper second degree, gave me an underlying confidence that anything was possible.

Working life began with a law conversion course and a brief 2.5 year practice at the Bar. One of my clients sucked me into a senior industrial relations position in British Leyland Cars. We were ultimately unsuccessful in resolving BL’s intractable industrial relations problems, but trying to do so provided a crash course in negotiation and handling tension and stress.

Experience in the law and senior management propelled me into consulting and 15 years ago Bridget and I formed a company – Figure Ground Consulting – which after a very successful life is only now coming to an end.

My consulting was enriched with a PhD in Action Inquiry which added method and learning to my previous experience. Since retirement I have returned to photography. “Returned” because I learned to photograph and process film at LU as the photographer for John O’Gaunt, the University newspaper!"

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