Early this morning I received the sad news that my friend Alan Swift had peacefully passed away in his sleep after a long illness. I'm sure that Alan with his cheery and friendly nature will be remembered by many ex-pupils.
In recent years we became good friends organising the 2014 reunion together, helping with the Jubilee celebrations at Winstanley College and representing Up Holland Grammer on the UGS Educational Foundation at Winstanley College.
I shall miss him greatly.
- David Robinson
Messge from Neil Swift, Alan's brother -
Dear all, On behalf of myself and my family can I say thank you for all the kind thoughts, texts and cards we have received this past few days. It is humbling to know how popular and well thought of my brother Alan was. The funeral is now confirmed to take place on Thursday 25th January, 1pm at St Aidens Church in Main Street Billinge followed by a celebration of Alan's life at Birchley St Mary's Club "Big room" Trent Road Billinge. I sincerely hope you can join us.
Regards Neil and Family x
Mel Chadwick - Vice Principal
Hi David - I'm very sorry to hear the sad news about Alan please do tell me what the funeral arrangements are. I would like very much to be there to represent Winstanley College as a thank you to Alan for all his warm hearted and jovial contributions to the life of Winstanley College. The UpHolland Grammar School Education Foundation will miss his contribution to the committee and I personally will miss his smiling face. It is a sad loss for all of us.
Comments from other ex-pupils remembering Alan can be seen below.
I would like to offer my condolences to family and friends on the sad demise of Alan Swift. He was our classmate at UGS and at the last reunion was still the enthusiastic, funny, happy person I remembered. R.I.P. Speedy and God Bless.
Jennifer Berry (Redshaw)
So sad when i heard yesterday about Alan, we started Billinge school together and went onto the grammar school, we both attended Billinge Church were he will be sadly missed,
Heather Burnley - Dear David, Thank you for giving me this terribly sad news. His passing will create a hole in many hearts, including my own.
Gillian Miles (Darbyshire) - Dear David, - I was so sorry to hear the sad news about Alan. I knew he had been ill for some time but kept hoping that things would improve for him. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your friend and pass on my condolences to his family.
Phil Holmes Sorry to see that Alan has gone he was a good bowler playing for the first team at what was the George & dragon in the 80s . So sorry to see all the old Billingers are going very sad god bless Alan Swift
Glover Very sorry to
hear this I remember him well
Condolences to his family
Neil Appleton Really sorry to hear that. Great bloke
David Noon RIP Alan (speedy) top bloke !!!!!
Gillian Harrison Lovely man thinking of you all xx
Neil Cunliffe RIP Alan lovely man x
Margy Horton David so sorry to hear the news about Alan. I remember meeting him at the Diamond jubilee and the reunion a few years ago. Such a happy cheerful guy.
Linsey Pavšič Sorry to hear this news. Often used to speak to Alan when he walked past our house, RIP Speedy
Ann Hilton So sorry, I went to primary school with him, as well as the grammar school, will miss him
Stuart Cadman Really sad news. Speedy was a lovely guy.
June Stapleton So so very sorry. Thinking of his family at this sad time xxx RIP Alan x
George Bate A very sad day. RIP
Geraldine McInnes RIP Alan x
Anne Holcroft So very sad. - Harry
John Foster Sad news indeed. RIP Alan
Margaret Cadman RIP Alan. Lovely gentle man.
Jenny Kenndy So sorry to hear the news
Mildred Hurst So sad.
Jan Graham so sorry, lovely man xx
Vic Brown RIP Speedy top man
Brian Heaton So sorry to hear this sad news today really nice person thinking of you and your family x Rip Alan
Paul Darbyshire Absolutely gutted a real gentleman and a great friend to my dad. RIP Alan
Laurence Pressman RIP alan thought's n prayers go out to his family x
Viv Turner Fleming So sad a lovely man xx
Tracey Barker RIP Speedy. Sad news x
Garry Wilkinson Sorry to hear about your Alan Neil he was a great bloke
Anne and Keith Molyneux So sorry to hear condolences to Neil and family xx
Nick Ellis From us too ....?.
Harold Greenall R.I.P. Alan. Great guy
Email received 09/01/18 from Gillian Miles
Thank you for posting the sad news about Yvonne Gore
Email received 8/12/17 from Carolyn Davies
I was so sorry to hear about David Atherton passing away. I had the pleasure of him being my A Level Economics lecturer from 1984 - 1986 (as did my sister, Heather, two years later.)
Mr Atherton was a brilliant teacher and that A level course was so interesting. I went on to study Economics as part of my Business Studies and German degree. We both still rave about Economics A
level to any student we come across.
I went on to work at bæ systems as a buyer, living in Munich for ten years, and still enjoy working at the Warton site now.
About two years ago my husband and I went to look around Winstanley College Open evening. My son didn't come with us at the time as he wanted to go to Runshaw with his friends. He has since transferred to Winstanley for his Upper Sixth year, to my great delight!
After looking at the obligatory Maths, Physics and Computing Departments for my son, I was drawn to the Business Studies and Economics department and was in my element. I chatted away to the students and staff and mentioned Mr Atherton. To my immense surprise they told me that he still came into College some lunchtimes!
I passed them my email address and asked them to get in touch with Mr Atherton for me. To my absolute delight he wrote back to me and astonishingly he remembered me and that I had studied German too. Impressive! I think this is a good thing that he remembered me!! It was 1986 when I left! He also went to the Houses of Parliament with my sister and she has fond memories of him too. I managed to exchange a few emails with him and he told me about his illness.
David Atherton and Brian Jones (German A level at Winstanley) were the two best lecturers I ever had; the University ones did not come close. They both stood out for me as being able to inspire and teach so well, making their subjects fun and were mostly the reason I loved going to Winstanley!
Best wishes to David's family and all those who will miss him.
Email received 29/11/2017 from Adrian Killinger
I have just seen a notice on Wigan announcements that Val Crawshaw (Simm)has died.She was in the 62 intake at UGS.
Gillian Miles (Darbyshire) - Sorry to hear the sad news about Val, my condolences to her family.
Recent posting on Face book by Phillip Pye -
Extremely saddened to hear of the recent passing of Michael Longton. The ‘mathnificent seven’ on the photo was our Double Maths A Level class pictured at around the time we sat our exams in 1977. They are Mick Longton, Andrew Fielding, Duncan Kennedy, Alison Dagnall, Steve Hodge, yours truly and Mick Howard, sadly also no longer with us. We were a tight knit group. For two years we’d spent 14 periods a week together in the tiny rooms (C1 & C2 – the windows were frosted glass as they were actually changing rooms for the school productions) behind the school hall.
David Robinson -
I received sad news that Michael (Mick) Harvey who was in the 1961 intake has sadly passed away on the 10th April 2017. Mick was a popular lad at school and a member of the rugby team. Other ex-pupils might know him from the pet shop in Pemberton that he and his wife Christine ran for many years
Email received 14/4/17 from Brian Green in Australia -
what an amazing 30 mins I have
had,,,,,,,trawling through history of UGS......
A Billinge lad, I was there from 1947 to 1955......
Now in a bit of a rush, must go,,,,,,perhaps someone will give me a
Cheers 'Green' (My first name was never used)
Contact website if you wish to make contact with Brian
Message received 2 -12 - 16 from Jeremy James
Message: Hi! Stumbled on this site - memories eh? Not sure if this
site is stil active - there don't seem to be any recent messages? I
left UGS in 1969 for Edinburgh University and now live and work in
Brecon Beacons. My mum still lives in Billinge! I played rugby in the
1st team in that special year and did a lot of work on lighting etc for
school plays, operas over the years. Best wishes to all ex UGS
especially any who may remember me.
Message from Alan Swift.. 25th August 2015 -
It is with great sadness that I have to report that our dear friend Anne Leather passed away yesterday. She was a lovely lady with a tremendous personality and she will be missed by her family and her vast number of friends. I knew her for less than two years but she had a significant effect on my life and I can only thank her for all the help she gave me in those years, and I will truly miss her. I spoke to her only last week in a long telephone conversation and she was chirpy and bright to the end. Some of you have known her for most of your lives and I know that this will be very upsetting. I am sure you have your own individual memories of this beautiful person and would like to pay your respects.
One of Anne's last wishes to me was that the her October reunion go ahead as normal as she had devoted much of her time in seeing old school friends meeting up and discussing happy times.
David Robinson will post any tributes sent to the site on the email/news page.
Email received 8/6/15 from Fuad Ta'eed
Email received 12/5/15 from Steve Clarke - Any friends who would like to see the bands performance at my 65th Birthday gig - a substitute for being there - click on to the link below
Message from David Robinson -
Congratulations to Ray Guy from the 1961 intake who was recently awarded the MBE.
Message from David Robinson -
Will Barbara Phillips (Webb) who left a comment on the Guestbook on Thursday 9th May 13, please email me at the website as an old friend is trying to contact her.
Email received 8/2/2014 from Martin Whitelegg -
I was at UGS from 1968 through to 1975 I have lost touch with a
lot of people over the years and would love to hear from anyone who
remembers me. - Martin
Email received from Margaret Horton - 24/01/2014
Message: Hi, I attended UGS from 1969 to 1973. I have a 6th form photo
of 1973 I would be happy to share on the site.My maiden name was
Margaret Attwell and my best friends at school were: Mildred Aspey,
Elizabeth Hardie and Joan Giller.My favourite teachers were German Jones
and Florrie Orrell. I lived on Gathurst Lane, Shevington and enjoyed the
bus journey to school with Jane Clitheroe. I studied french, german and
economics at A Level.
Dave Robinson 11/11/13 - I have received a message from Stuart Mcgrath with the sad news that former UGS pupil Dave Fanning has passed away
Received on 17th August 2013 from Charlie Bamforth -
I am writing an article for Backpass magazine about four goalkeepers, all
with links in the Up Holland, Orrell, Billinge district.
They are Wilf Birkett, John Barton, Dave Gaskell and Harold Lea.
Harold of course used to teach woodwork and help out with sport at UGS. I
interviewed him this morning.
I wonder if by any chance you are aware of any photographs of him from his
time at UGS? I would also love any anecdotes/memories from you or others
who may remember him.
All I know is that the table I made is still in my mother's home!
Anyone with photos or anecdotes please contact the website.
From David Robinson 23/6/13 -
It's with great sadness I have to inform you that Tommy Derbyshire passed away Sunday 16th June 2013. Tommy was in the 1961 intake at UGS and I'm sure would be known by many ex-pupils who were at school in the early 1960's. Tommy was a great character at school and when I became reacquainted with him in recent years became a close friend. Tommy had a great memory of people from school and could tell you the birthdays of many old schoolfriends. He attended the 2005 and 2010 reunions and helped me with the organising and running of both.
He will be sadly missed.
Messages of condolence for Tommy -
Steve Clarke - That is a tragedy. Tommy was a lovable guy and always up to mischief. He had a great laugh and a good old timers view of the world. He will be mourned by many I'm sure.
Dorothy Webley (Bradley) - I was sorry to get your message about Tommy Derbshire. I
remember him at the reunions as still a great character.If you are in contact with his family please pass on my sympathy to them.
Phil Rickman - Oh hell. I knew he hadn't been well for quite some time, but that's still a shock. Tommy was that rarity, a hard kid who was also funny.
Les Alker - I'm so sorry to hear the news about Tommy.
Phil Banks - I'm sure many of us will be sad that he is no longer with us. As you are probably aware, Tommy and I were also at Lamberhead Green infants/junior school together before UGS.
Ray Guy - I have lot of memories about Tommy please convey my condolences to his family.
Christy Taylor (Seddon) - Very sad to hear the news of Tommy. Please convey sympathy to his family when you speak with them.
Rhona Schofield (Johnston) - Really sorry to hear about Tommy’s passing, thank you for letting us know. He was one of those characters you never forget – I can still see him on our first day at UGS in the same class as me - 1E with Mrs Ellison. It was good to meet up and chat with him again at the 2005 reunion. Please do pass on our sincere condolences to Tommy’s family.
Jean Hughes (Danson) - So sorry to hear the sad news and I have let Irene know (she does not have the Internet now). I am going to phone her tomorrow so no doubt we will do some reminiscing.
Alison Wheeler (Gill) - Very sorry to hear this sad news. I remember Tommy at school and as you say he was a great character and I remember his friendliness at the reunions.
Trevor Hughes - Sad news, Of course I remember Tommy tho I haven't seen or heard from him since UGS - dear God, it seems so long ago (probably because it is so long ago ).
George Bate - Very sorry to hear about the death of Tommy Derbyshire. I always remember Tommy as being happy and smiling and having the life as a "mod". I also led the life as a mod outside of school with scooters mounted with a multitude of mirrors etc. My condolences to all his family and friends.
Email received 1/6/2013 from David Killinger -
I would appreciate it if you would pass on/notify any of Bill Harrison's class mates of his recent death.
After school Bill worked for a bank, owned a fishing tackle business and later went into teaching, in the Wolverhampton area. All through his life Bill had a passion for fishing. In fact it was at Writington Fish Ponds that Bill and I first met when he was about 12 years old, even at such a young age he would often out fish the senior anglers at the pond Throughout his life Bill would always go out of his way to help others and to support his friends in times of need. He was a real gentleman.
Hi David, sorry to be the bearer of sad news but heard that Susan Bamber passed away yesterday.Thought you might like to know.
Contact form received from Anthony W Birchall
Message: I attended Up Holland Grammar School from 1943 to 1948. I
emigrated to Australia in 1966. Retired in 1987
Email received from Helen Houghton 5/10/2012 -
Congratulations on the new web site, great format.
I have been trying to trace Irene Spence who started UGS in 1959, and
discovered recently that she passed away in 2010. I am
sure that many of your readers will remember her, and thought they would
want to know.
Best Regards to everyone,
Email received from David Jones, 10/08/2012 - I went to U.G.S '39 to '44.
Interested to hear from Kenny Benson and Ted Phythian who were colleagues of mine, or indeed anyone in my era. After school I worked in the Home Office Communications
Directorate in Billinge, then saw service in the Fleet Air Arm. After
demob. was posted to Worcs. & did a sandwich course in B'ham College of
Technology becoming a Prof. Engineer. I was seconded to Kenya during Mau
Mau emergency returning to H.O. after 4 years in Kenya to take up a
position in Kent. A year later I was seconded to the Tanganyika Police
as a Supt. of Police and after Independence there, I was invited to join
the U.K. Diplomatic Service and was based at Bletchley Park for some
time before serving in Somalia, Yemen and the Middle East before leaving
to take a staff position in the Physics Dept. of the University of
Auckland in New Zealand. After 20 years there I retired to Australia. In
the Physics Dept there was a a colleague of mine Prof B. Earnshaw who
had roomed with Ted Phythian in Manchester Univ.My Form teachers in
U.G.S. were for the firstly Miss Grimshaw and then Mr. Smith
Email received from Alan Bolton
Great new website. All power to your elbow. Some sad news however. Could I ask you to put the attached obituary to Ian Howarth on to the site. Ian was a great friend of mine and we played rugby all through school together from the under 12’s to the 1st XV. He was the left centre and I was the left wing. He will be sadly missed. Thanks.
- Obituary can be downloaded below.
Marian please contact me. Jennifer has been in touch but I seem to have misplaced your email address
- David Robinson
Sad Email received 22/11/2011 from
Katheen Fowler (Ford) - I have just found your site and wanted to contact you with news of a former pupil.
My name is Kathleen Fowler (Ford) and I have been married to David Fowler (Adams) for nearly 40 years. We were both at UGS from 61-68 and had a great time.
The sad news is that David died last year aged 60 and he is greatly missed by myself his 2 sons and his 3 grandchildren. - Kathleen
David and Kathleen were good friends of mine at school and I was very shocked and sad to hear of Davids death. I have spoken to several old schoolmates recently and they all had fond memories of David and asked for their love and sympathy to be passed on to Kathleen and her family. --- David Robinson
Email received 12/03/2011 from Frances Parkinson - I have just got back from holiday and found a sad e mail waiting for me from Jeffrey Crook's daughter informing me that her father had passed away. Jeff had only just joined the UGS site around September last year. He was taken ill towards the end of January I think. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and was on a life support machine for a while. After an operation to release pressure on his brain, his condition improved, but unfortunately the worst has now happened. (He had also recently relocated from France to Cadiz having lived abroad for many years and acquiring French Citizenship. He attended UGS 1958 - 1963.)
Email received 25/10/2011 from Christy Taylor - I am now back in Phoenix after a rather short trip to the house in Portugal at the beginning of this month. I also spent time in England, visiting with my daughter Beth who lives in Bramhall and Scotland where my brother retired to a few years ago. During the trip, Joan Smith, Sue Banks and myself arranged to meet up in Chester for a day. We had a wonderful time starting off with morning coffee at the Grosvenor Hotel then a beautiful Italian restaurant for lunch followed by walks around town and by the river. The weather was amazing and much catching up on news occurred. It had been 5 years since the three of met up in Edinburgh in 2006. I think we all looked well for our age, all of us having retired now. Our next get-together is tentatively planned for sometime next summer when I hope that Joan and Sue can travel to Portugal to spend some time at my property there. I will be spending 4 months in Portugal next year from March through to the end of July. My husband Rob, who still is working at the University in Phoenix will be visiting a couple of times during that period.
Email received 3/08/2011 from Andrea Gaskell-
I was Andrea Haydock - friends with Glenys Hughes, Tina Rogers, Julie Unsworth, Christine Macy, Carol Rimmer; amongst others.
I left in 1975 to start a brief career in the Civil Service as a Tax Officer, then got married to Dave and had 2 children.
In 1998 I qualified as a Primary teacher, after being an Adult Ed Lecturer for 16 years.
I now have 3 grandsons and number 4 is on the way in September!
I remember: penny socials, Grammar Dances, taking part in a production of Oliver, visiting Kennilworth Castle with French exchange students; visiting Stratford on Avon for a weekend; getting caught climbing out of C3 classroom window when we got locked in one lunchtime; swimming in the reservoirs; pinching bikes to go to the chippy!!
Teachers I remember: Peter O'Leary - English; Mrs Allen; Mrs Moritt (PE); Reg Lathom, Gerry Rickards. All in all I quite enjoyed my time there!
Email received 8/02/2011 from Marian Pyke (nee Wilson) - I am trying to contact Jennifer Gaskell who was at Up Holland Grammar School between 1961-1968 She used to live in Shevington and her dad was a teacher. We met at the Gidlow Lane Youth Club in Wigan and were friends until I moved to London in 1971. I wonder if this may be Jennifer Kennedy who emailed you in December from Aberystwyth . If you can get in touch with her for me it would be good. ( Jennifer or anyone in contact with her please let me know current email address. - David )
Email received 6/01/2011 from John Foster - I just thought I'd let you know the sad news that Geoff Winnard passed away on New Years Eve after a long battle with illness. Geoff attended UGS between 1969 and 1976
and will be very well remembered by those who attended the school at that time. The funeral took place at St Lukes Orrell at 12.00 on Tuesday 11th January 2011 and I'm certain that
there were many of his contemporaries present who wished to pay their respects.
Email received 14/12/10 from Jim Barton - Thank you for
letting me have a “prompt” that the new MUGS61 website was underway .. good idea to extend it to all.
Some recent sad news I spotted was that Robin Thornber died on 5 December.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/dec/12/robin-thornber-obituary I went to Upholland with Robin and, although we were never close chums, he was very notable for his remarkable intellect even then and was one of the rare breed at the time who was accepted at Oxford.