In memory of Arthur Westall
I heard today that Arthur Westall, who was a teacher at my grammar school, had passed away recently, aged 92.
'Olly' Westall, as he was known, taught English and Religious Knowledge, but never to me. In fact, I never really knew him at all, other than through the following incident.
Aged 15, I bought a motorbike from him for £1. I can't remember the exact circumstances, or why I was the first person to hear about this, but the bike worked and must have been worth more than £1.
I think that this shows a kind, generous and slightly eccentric side to a man who came across as, well, slightly eccentric.
That's me in the photograph, with the bike, in 1969.
It was a 1953 Francis Barnett, with a 197cc Villiers engine and a triangular horsehair saddle. It smelt great. And I was that rare thing - a 15 year old with a motorbike,
This made me very popular indeed, as I was the only boy in our year at school to own a motorbike. All my many new friends and I would ride it around my parents back garden and a local quarry.
Then, the engine seized up and I returned to obscurity. I sold it to the window cleaner for £2, the start of a great business career.
We also learned from the registration documents that his full name was Arthur George Huxford Westall. They don't name like that any more. Thank you, Sir