Return for Spalding Grammar School ‘old boy’ for society’s lecture

OLD SCHOOL: Dr Richard Teeuw (right), principal lecturer in applied geomorphology and remote sensing at Portsmouth University, at Spalding Grammar School for the Spalding Gentlemen's Society Public Lecture, with (from left) Professor Michael Chisholm, Tom Grimes and Colin Baslington. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG201017-139TW.

A Spalding Grammar School “old boy” made a guest appearance at his old stomping ground, but this time he was the one giving the lesson.

Dr Richard Teeuw, an expert in crisis and disaster management now based at Portsmouth University, was the guest of Spalding Gentlemen’s Society for its latest public lecture on Friday.

Ours was the first year at Spalding Grammar School to do the Duke of Edinburgh Awards which gave us that sense of exploring and discovering the world

Dr Richard Teeuw, principal lecturer in crisis and disaster management at Portsmouth University,

With a theme of “How Spies in the Skies Became Huminatarian Saviours”, Dr Teeuw was able to tell his audience how geography studies at Spalding Grammar School led him to become an authority on tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Dr Teeuw, his aunt Mo Teeuw is an artist based in Moulton, said: “Ours was the first year at Spalding Grammar School to do the Duke of Edinburgh Awards which gave us that sense of exploring and discovering the world.

“After studying geography at Nottingham University, I went on to work as a geologist in Sierra Leone which gave me a feel for working in developing and developed countries.

“My career started when computer mapping was coming in and I’ve gone from looking at mineral resources for gold and diamonds to looking at the environment and its hazards, whether man-made or natural.”

The lecture also gave Dr Teeuw a chance to share how he was instrumental in organising the largest training day in Europe for students on the crisis and disaster management course he runs.

SimEx, which took place in Portsmouth over three days in May, involved more than 2,000 people from 60 organisations, including the United Nations, Coastguard and British Red Cross, that were faced with earthquakes, oil leaks and a refugee crisis.

Dr Teeuw said: “As an academic who now runs a course in disaster and risk management, I’ve unfortunately found out that it’s a growing area because there are more and more people who live in hazardous areas of the world.

“We’re very much internationally-focused when we run SimEx because whilst we have all this wonderful technology, if you don’t have access to the internet, you won’t get all the early warnings and satellite information needed to warn people who could be affected by disasters.

“We’re in a golden age for information and the good news for developing countries in the world is that most of the systems that can process the information are free.”

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