Good news stories from the past year – Merry Christmas!

COVID has brought distress and hardship to so many and our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and have been ill themselves, as well as those whose livelihoods have been compromised. It can be hard to reflect on the positives amid so much gloom!  However, hopefully you’ll agree that there have been some positive experiences this past year, and ahead of some much need reunions with our families at Christmas time, here are some heart warming examples shared by Dental School staff and students (click the thumbnails for larger images and ensure you read right through to the end for some special news).  We wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Alex Mead, Year 1 Student Administrator

I have spent maternity leave with my beautiful daughter, Alina, this year.



Flavia Gentili, Year 5 student

Lockdown let me find a great new hobby which I have crafted into a colourful little business, making earrings and sending half of the proceeds to charity (@flavsearrings on Instagram).


Jay Mistry (Year 4), Christopher Saji (Year 4) and Jake West (Year 5)

With gyms closing due to lockdown, we, as a flat, have created a home gym to maintain physical and mental health during these unprecedented times!


Emily Black, Year 5 student

I have been donating plasma regularly since registering in May following a call to action by Eddie Crouch (BDA chair).  Emily has also just had this article about it published in the BDJ – well done Emily!


Grace Radford, Postgraduate Administrator

I have been able to dedicate more time to learning new things, being more creative and trying not to take things too seriously. I’ve tried online dance classes, Zoom yoga classes, pottery…but my most notable is knitting (see attached). I think there may be a slight room for improvement but honestly I think I’ve cracked it.

Chris Mills, TEL Developer for Dentistry

This year I have been able to take my children to school and pick them up (when they were actually at school of course!), and generally we have spent much more time together as a family which has been great.


Numra Maryam, Year 3 student

During lockdown, I found baking and trying new recipes was a great way to take your mind off things and relax. At the end you’re left with something really delicious that you can share with friends and family and there are endless new recipes to try out! My favourite thing I baked were these cheesecake brownies!

Emily Jones, Year 2 Student Administrator

I have gained an outstanding amount of patience from being in such close quarters with my husband for such a large part of the year!!!  More seriously though, I’ve gained a huge amount of respect and appreciation for all my wonderful colleagues. Working remotely as part of a team isn’t easy so hats off to us all! Also, a massive amount of respect for our students and the hurdles they’ve overcome this year.  I’ve also gained a lot of quality time with my lovely family and am thankful for that.

Serena Dodhia and Sacha Patston, Year 5 students

We love jewellery and lockdown gave us the time to acquire a new skill that we’ve managed to turn into a successful small business alongside BDS (@bangingbangles_ on Instagram)!


Angela Hague, Senior Tutor

I have enjoyed not having to commute for 1h 15 mins each way every day and I have achieved my 1000 miles ‘boots on’ walking for 2020 already (instead of having the last couple of miles to do on New Year’s Eve like last year). I have discovered new local paths I haven’t used before.  I have enjoyed the Live Collaborate sessions I have done and find the sessions more interactive than the face-to-face lectures.  Attendance is better!  Work is more focussed with fewer interruptions – but I do miss those.  Happy Christmas everyone!

Year 4 get togethers

Lockdown has allowed Akash Thota, Amrish Rajdev, Lucy Hodkinson, Chloe Poole, Taha Alibhai and Faisal Awan to spend a lot more time together as a house! We have made the most of the evenings in our house with a variety of fun activities such as a Mexican food night, Diwali celebrations and a Christmas move night in our Christmas pjs!

James Puryer, Senior Clinical Lecturer (Restorative Dentistry)

Being able to work from home saved a huge amount of commuting time which allowed me to spend more time with my children and encourage them to take part in outdoor activities including camping and hill walking.

Kavlin Aurora, Year 3 student

My art blog gave me a purpose during the months of being stuck indoors. Every day I woke up with excitement and energy that I had lost with the coming of the pandemic. There were days where I spent hours just drawing or painting, making two or even three pieces! My passion for art re-ignited after many years of not even picking up a paintbrush due to my educational commitments. Now I look forward to exploring different forms of art and growing my blog!

Nilu Ahmed, Lecturer in Social Sciences

One of the things I have enjoyed most during lockdown is the time I have gained from not commuting. I am so grateful for that extra hour in bed! I have also found myself doing a lot of media work during this time which I have really enjoyed. Its great doing interviews (and lectures!) online being dressed professionally on top, but in my ‘cosies’ and slippers out of view!

Michele Barbour, Interim Head of School

One positive for me has been the impact of the pandemic on my cat, Margaux.  Margaux is a rescue cat and, although we have had her for 5 years, she is still anxious and very timid. She had a tough start in life, before she became part of our family, and it’s made her very wary and untrusting of humans. However, all of the additional time we have spent at home this year has really made a difference to her behaviour. Now she’s used to having people around a lot more during the week, she is much more at ease with us. She spends a lot less time hiding away, and a lot more time out in the open, just hanging out, even accepting a few strokes or a tickle under the chin. It’s huge progress for her. Sometimes she even decides when it’s time for me to take a break from my laptop, as in this photo!

And a special one to finish…

Sally-Anne Holliday, Year 3 Student Administrator

Something I’ve gained this year is a baby bump!! Very excited to meet baby Holliday Read in May 2021. Congratulations Sally-Anne!


Merry Christmas to all staff and students at Bristol Dental School!

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