Ex-Mortimer pupil wins on University Challenge
A former West Berkshire school pupil enjoyed a winning spell on a national TV quiz show last week.
Roy Pounder, 22, competed in the 52nd series of BBC Two's University Challenge – hosted by Jeremy Paxman in his final series – in a team representing Bangor University last Tuesday.
The four contestants achieved a score of 135 points, narrowly beating their University of Nottingham rivals by 10 points.
Mr Pounder attended St John's Infant School and St Mary's Junior School in Mortimer, before completing his secondary education at the The Willink School in Burghfield.
He graduated with first class honours in medieval and early modern history this summer and embraced the chance to test his history expertise on the small screen.
He said: "It was a bit surreal, I had never been on TV before. I was really nervous beforehand, but when you get there it sort of clicks in place and you just focus on answering the questions.
"The hardest questions for me to personally get right were those in my area of knowledge.
"A medieval history question came up in one of the qualifying rounds and I thought to myself 'oh god, oh god, oh god, I cannot get this wrong'. I did though, unfortunately."
Mr Pounder gained an unfortunate nickname from the tabloid press during his time on the show, who dubbed him the 'Bangor Pounder'.
He said: "It was something I knew was going to happen because my university mates, who encouraged me to go on in the first place, made the same jokes when they realised.
"I've heard them all my life, but I do find it quite funny."
His mother, Julia Pounder, herself a bachelor's graduate from Bangor University, learned that her son would feature on the series last year.
"It was very weird as he was sat next to me at the time, so I think I nudged him every time he answered a question wrong," she said, describing how they watched the episode. "My colleagues were all messaging me saying 'go Roy'. I think half the village watched to be fair.
"He kept getting beaten to the buzzer by a student on the other team, but they had a chat afterwards and bonded over medieval history."
Responding to her son's nickname, Mrs Pounder added: "He was chilled about it, but I was a bit cross at times. Especially as they got his name wrong, calling him 'Ro' Pounder."
Mrs Pounder teaches at St John's School, alongside another teacher who taught Mr Pounder.
Mr Pounder plans to study a masters degree in medieval history, and hopes to train as a teacher after that.