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Why Hope is Strong in this Family

Ed Parry in Hope SU

Husband and wife Ed and Simone Parry met and fell in love while studying at Liverpool Hope University.   

And now they’ve told of their joy after daughter Neve also enrolled at Hope - almost three decades after they first began their degrees. 

Ed studied for a BA in Music and Drama while Simone completed a BEd in Primary Education and Art, both graduating in 1998. 

Copy of older Hope ID badge

And now their daughter, Neve, has also been drawn to the University where the roots of her family first took hold. 

Neve, 18, is due to join Hope later this summer to study Psychology and Musical Theatre. 

And Ed, 45, says: “When Neve first told us that Hope was her first choice university, Simone and I were over the moon and instantly started reminiscing. 

“On visits to Liverpool, we’d often drive past Hope and point out important places from our student days, so it’s fabulous that she’ll be sharing some of the same experiences and spaces that we did at her age. But, it was important that we didn’t try to lead her choice just because of our feelings for the place.”

Simone, 50, adds: “Neve has always been musical and theatrical and has sang and performed since she was little but also has a passion for psychology, too. The chance of combining both of her passions is what made Hope her first choice and what made it stand out of the crowd.”

Ed is now an Admissions advisor at Warwick University while Simone is a SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) teacher. 

Ed and Simone Parry at Graduation Ball at Hope

Ed, who is a Liverpool native but now lives with his family in Tamworth, Staffs, says he was a last-minute arrival at Hope, coming through clearing when his personal circumstances changed. 

He adds: “When I visited Hope and spoke to the music department, they were incredibly sympathetic to my home background and supported me at a time of real need. They helped me fill in the application, finance and accommodation forms, and did all that they could to help, despite me missing the cut off dates.  

“This was a real sliding doors moment for me and coming to Hope really did change my life for the better. I loved living in halls on the Hope park site and honestly did have the time of my life there.”

Ed’s life was to get even better when he wowed Simone, who is originally from Tamworth, with his singing skills. 

Describing how she first glimpsed Ed while walking on Taggart Avenue, Hope Park, Simone laughs: “Ed had long greasy hair and was wearing a full length black leather jacket, and I thought ‘urgh!’. A few months later, at the Karaoke night in the Derwent building, I was just leaving to go to the Cavern with my friends when I heard somebody singing an Elvis song, and not killing it.  

“I went back in to see who it was and that’s when I saw him again. This time his hair was shaved bald, and he looked attractive. It was a case of love at first sound.”

Ed Parry graduation photo

Students’ Union council member Ed had admired his future wife from afar, too. He reveals: “I’d seen Simone a couple of times at the Union but never spoke to her. I remember thinking she was good looking but out of my league - and a little bit quirky looking as well. She was a bit of a hippy back then.  

“The first time I actually spoke to her was in my second year in the Lady Jade chippy on Smithdown road. We happened to bump into each other there and got chatting, and walked back to our student homes together, which happened to be around the corner from each other.  

“We were both in relationships with other people at the time so, despite a mild flirtation on our walk home and an obvious attraction, nothing happened.”

But they met more and more over the coming months - and the rest is history.  

Ed went on to become Vice President in the Students’ Union while Simone moved back to Tamworth, but they made the long-distance relationship work and eventually married in 1999. 

Ed states: “We definitely feel like we’ve found our soul mates and are best friends.  We’re one of those annoying couples who actually really like each other and enjoy being in each other’s company.”

Person in gown holding a scroll

Simone went on to forge a successful career in education, working in mainstream primary schools until she found her niche in special education, where she’s taught for the last twenty years.

Ed went on to complete his teacher training and taught in special primary education until a life changing accident in 2016, where he broke his back after a fall.  

During his recovery period he had two books for young adults published and is currently writing the third in the series.

And are Simone and Ed reassured by the fact Neve is going to a university they’ve already experienced..? 

Simone says: “We’ve tried not to influence her too much as we don’t want to colour the picture in for her. Obviously she knows how positive Hope was for both of us and how much it changed our lives, but this is very much her adventure.  We’ve told her about the fun side of being a student, but also the importance of putting in the hard work and making the most of the opportunity.”

Ed, Simone and Neve recently returned to Hope Park for an Applicant Day, where students have the chance to get to grips with life on campus. 

And Simone adds: “It was amazing. We obviously have fond memories anyway, but found both Hope park and the Creative campus - which wasn’t there when we were at Hope -  to be just as friendly and welcoming as we remembered.  

“All of the staff genuinely seemed approachable and happy to be there and the sense of community was felt throughout.”

While Ed enthuses: “I was made up to see that my name is still up on the wall in the Students’ Union!”

Ed Parry in the Hope SU pointing at his name on the board


Published on 23/03/2022