By the time you read this, RAG week will be over. With any luck, they will have achieved, or at least come close to, their record-breaking target of £15,000- which even by national standards is a splendid achievement! Congratulations all round to Kate Jeffries’ RAG team for all their hard work in organising such a successful week.
The RAG committee in 1974, however, were entirely more ambitious than today’s. Nouse of March 14th, 1974, told a tale not just of charity balls and parades, but also of an audacious sting operation that rivalled the Great Train Robbery for drama. Nouse tells a story of several Langwith students, apparently grown tired of the campus-based RAG events, who decide to take matters drastically into their own hands.
They set off purposefully in the wee small hours of the afternoon in convoy, “two cars and one van,” in the direction of Hull University. “Meanwhile,” Nouse continues “back at H.Q. two other Langwithians were phoning Hull, on the pretext that they were representatives of the Leeds student newspaper. Having obtained the information required, they relayed it to the commando unit.”
Their target was Steve Green, the newly-elected President of Hull University’s SU. Green, blissfully unaware of his danger, walked outside to answer a paged message- and , quick as a flash, he was “bundled into the waiting car,” which sped off, as a red herring, in the direction of Leeds. “The message was then phoned into Langwith; ‘Mission Accomplished.’”
After what must have been a confusing and scary afternoon for the hapless President, a car was sent to Langwith to collect him, along with the handsome sum of twenty-five pounds, sterling. This ransom duly paid, Steve Green was released in perfect health (though probably a bit grumpy). The ransom was handed ceremoniously to Ivor Borkin, the then-RAG chairman, at the end of the RAG parade, and sent to charity.
The article ends on a sinister note. With a sense of deep foreboding, the author gives his readership a warning. “Watch out for the Hull RAG week in June!” Rich Croker beware. Hull students do not forget easily, and they always bear a grudge…