Who we are

Paul Everett

Paul Everett

Finance, Website

I gained my ONC and HNC whilst working full-time, initially on a Youth Training Scheme, for various household-name chemical manufacturers. After graduating in 2001 I am proud to hold an OU Honours degree in Natural Science (Chemistry) too.
I design and develop all types of personal care and household products, with the most recent focus on eco-friendly developments.

Since 1995, I’ve helped to organise the annual Chemistry and Science Revision Weekends, and love seeing the fruits of these labours with students and tutors chatting in the classrooms, over coffee, and in the bar.
I am a keen cinema-goer and rugby-watcher, and love getting out into the Coldswolds near where I live.

Robin Hackshall



I live not far from Colchester in Essex. I retired early from my job as an underwriter in the City and only then graduated from the OU with a BSc in Geoscience after nine years of study (regrettably too late to benefit my career prospects). Having become addicted to study (there should be a health warning!) I went on to achieve a Masters in Earth Science in 2015. The Science Revision Weekend is perhaps to blame here: the Weekends that I attended as a student improved my module results which, in turn, improved my class of BSc allowing me to think that I could manage the MSc.

Now that my formal studies are (probably) over I have more time to spend in my workshop building small steam engines.
I’m Captain of my County Small-bore Rifle Team and much of my leisure time is spent punching holes in cardboard, with great accuracy, at great distance and at even greater expense. On the other hand it is an Olympic sport you can do lying down. Actually it is a sport where participation is open to all on an equal footing, including the elderly and disabled people.

I joined the SRW team at the end of my undergraduate studies, having discovered how they can help with study and lessen nerves in exams and my hope is that I can assist other students in the same way that I myself have been helped in the past.

Steve James


Website, Student Liaison

I have almost finished my B27 Physical Science degree with the OU. I previously spent 32 years working in the I.T. industry doing all sorts of crazy things in many different parts of the world. When eventually I get my degree, and assuming it is good enough, I hope to become a secondary school physics teacher.
When not studying I can be found helping out the IoP and a local sailing club. I’m married with two daughters.

Tesca Osman


Tutor Liaison

I dropped out of my first attempt to get a degree at 18, knowing that I couldn't afford to complete it, and took up the job I was offered as a junior diplomat with the FCO. Having spent most of my adult life living in various European countries including France, communist Poland, West Germany, reunified Germany, free Poland, and Romania I picked up a useful collection of languages but was doubtful I would ever be able to achieve my degree "later in life". However, I was lucky enough to discoved the OU, and after much agonising finally plumped for the “easy” option of Physics over Languages (lol).

I began studying from home in 2009, which enabled me to support my children in their studies at the same time. It's been a bit of a struggle to get the named degree before it expires in 2014, but by then I'll be almost through a maths degree too, and still have the prospect of a decade or so of employment after that....
Meantime, as a new recruit to the SRW team, I can give back some of the great support I've received in my studies.

John Taylor



Following graduation at Sussex University in 1967 I enjoyed 31 years at Rolls-Royce Aero-engines in Derby, undertaking responsibilities in compressor design, programme management and finally quality assurance. Following early retirement I retook my physics and maths degree with the Open University, graduating in 2012.

I am now a perpetual student currently taking a BA, again with the Open University. I have very special love for the SRW - it gave me so much more depth to my revision, as well as allowing me to meet like-minded students and generally have great fun. I am now 68 and hope to be able to pay back some of my dues by helping out with the organisation of the SRW. I am currently a home tutor, helping students find the excitement that I have for my subjects, and hopefully in passing their exams.

Nigel Combley


Venue Liaison

Following on from a successful career in the print media business (I did a paper round), I spent the rest of my working life with De Beers, the diamond company. Much of my time was spent running various projects, leading a somewhat nomadic existence, living in Antwerp, Kimberley and the wilds of Buckinghamshire. I also travelled extensively within Southern Africa. 

I took early retirement and decided to do a Geosciences degree with the OU. I can’t remember how I first learned about Yarnfield, but I found the weekends invaluable for revising for exams. When I obtained my degree I thought it would be good to give some of my time helping out at the revision weekends. It’s been a real eye-opener, the amount of work that goes into organising the weekend is amazing. But it’s very rewarding and I’ve made friends and met lots of wonderful people on the way.



We need people to organise the Weekend; without them the Weekend won't run. If you think you have skills that would help us, please contact us by email or approach us at the Weekend. All expenses are paid; all that is asked of you is time and dedication.