Local Faces : Robert & Alison Duggan

  |  Published: Feb 1st 2013

Robert Duggan was brought up in Redhill in Surrey. Going to boarding school he was educated in Bideford and went to Oxford Poly (now Oxford Brookes) to study for an external London University degree in Mathematics and Physics.  Robert entered the NHS as one of the first of two graduate trainees in Supply and Procurement Management.  Working in Oxford was an attraction as the future Mrs D was completing her studies there. Robert became an integral part of the equipping team for the John Radcliffe Hospital which opened in 1977/8.

In 1975, Robert and Alison married and they lived in Oxford until Robert’s job took him to Reading for different health projects there. In 1981 Thomas was born and shortly afterwards Robert’s work took him to the new Milton Keynes Hospital and the new spinal Unit at Stoke Mandeville hospital meeting . . .

In 1982 Robert and Alison moved to Wendover and there began the love affair with this area of outstanding natural beauty. In 1984, a second son, Christopher, was born.  To make ends meet,  Robert, Alison and their next door neighbour set up ROALDI – a toy making business. On weekday evenings Robert would make the wooden toys. Alison and Di would paint and stitch, and at weekends they would go off to craft fairs selling their wares whilst Robert entertained the two growing lads.

At around this time Robert developed a software system which became the NHS standard for Project equipping. In 1989, Robert left the NHS to set up his own business. However due to the untimely death of his business partner, he returned to the NHS to set up a fee earning unit for the ‘Margaret Thatcher’ initiated internal market in the NHS. In 1998, Robert set up Domino Equipping Solutions, a national business  providing procurement consultancy services to the Public sector.

Robert loves to be involved with local life. He is chair of Wendover Parish Council and is also a member of the Wendover Society. Both organisations need younger members and Robert is keen to get more youngsters (under 50) involved.  He is involved one way or another with anti HS2 or mitigation issues. Together with Colin Riley and others, Robert is part of the inaugural Wendover IRGH Fundraising group. He is a Governor of the South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust and is keen to carry on with connections with the NHS albeit in a more voluntary capacity.

With a first grandchild on the way Robert hopes to wind down his business activities and concentrate on his other more leisurely interests such as vegetable gardening, development of sustainable ideas, wood turning and Wendover.

Alison was born in Khartoum in the Sudan, and returned with her parents to the UK at the age of 18 months.  The family settled in Edinburgh, eventually returning to the south of England in 1965, moving to Hampton, Middlesex where Alison went to school and then  to Oxford Poly to complete a degree in Social Studies.  Towards the end of her first term Alison met Robert when they were performing in a production of Camino Real.  Alison was “a woman of the night” and Robert was a “soldier and undertaker”!  Their acting careers never progressed, but their relationship did!

Alison then worked for two years as a trainee social worker based in Beaconsfield and Slough. Her experiences in this field were varied, and taught her many things which have been pertinent in her subsequent life.  At this point Alison decided that she wanted to work with children – not possible in those days as a social worker, and so went to Bulmershe college in Reading to train to be a teacher and taught in two schools in Reading before Thomas’s arrival.

The decision to settle in Wendover, promoted by Robert’s new job, was led by the fact that the village appeared friendly, had good amenities and facilities, was on the right side of Aylesbury for access to both sets of parents; her mother who settled in Wendover in 1993 remembers visiting Wendover as a child with cousins from Luton, and having tea in a tea shop.

In time, Alison took the boys to the thriving Mother and Toddler group at the Memorial Hall and started making friends with other Wendover mothers.  This led onto many things……she became Secretary of the Mother and Toddler group, co-ordinating the rota of helpers.  She also wrote to Mrs Halfacre, the then headteacher of John Hampden First School, offering help as a volunteer, having moved into another LEA.  Starting off hearing readers on a weekly basis, which led on to occasional then regular supply work, taking the “rising 5s”, Alison is now a permanent member of staff, currently working 4 days a week.  Many of the children who have been to the John Hampden School may well have been taught by Mrs Duggan, and now, scarily for her, she is teaching the children of her sons’ contemporaries!

Through links with the school, Alison has brought Morris and Maypole Dancing to Wendover Carnival, the Manor Waste and most recently to Wendover Celebrates. She was part of the working party for Wendover Celebrates, co-organising the successful logo competition, and is currently on the Committee for Wendover Community Library. In 2006 Alison took part in a 20 mile sponsored walk for Breast Cancer, and then in the IRHH midnight walk.

In her spare time Alison enjoys gardening, reading, and visiting places of interest (especially New Zealand!) but becoming a grandmother as well as a mother-in-law again in 2013 means she has an exciting time ahead!

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