Former pupil, 83, returns school book 65 YEARS late… and pays the £1,500 fine

January 30, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

A former pupil has returned a school book 65 YEARS late – and paid a £1,500 ‘fine’.

Sir Jay Tidmarsh came across the long-forgotten copy of ‘Ashenden’ by W. Somerset Maughan as he cleared out his shelves.

The 82 year-old former businessman opened the cover and spotted the stamp of his old school inside.

Amanda Lockwood, Jane Barrie, Sir Jay Tidmarsh and Neil Longstreet

Amanda Lockwood, Jane Barrie, Sir Jay Tidmarsh and Neil Longstreet

He had taken it out in 1950 when he was a pupil at posh Taunton School in Somerset and forgotten to return it.

Sir Jay, who was the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol between 1996 and 2007, decided to send it back – together with a £1,500 donation to the school library.

But, despite his generous donation, Sir Jay may have short changed the school – with the fine totalling around £2,847 for the 65 years.

Sir Jay, from Bristol, said: “I don’t know why but I just happened to open the front cover and was shocked to see ‘Property of Taunton School’ printed inside.

“I thought I should do the decent thing and return the book – paying my dues at the same time.”

Sir Jay and his wife Lady Virginia made a special trip back to the £33,000-a-year school with the book where they were given a lunch in their honour hosted by Chair of Governors Jane Barrie.

Neil Longstreet, Foundation Director at the school, said: “Sir Jay is a much valued supporter of the Foundation.

“We were absolutely delighted to accept the return of his library book, together with an extraordinarily generous cheque to cover the appropriate ‘fine’ after a mere 65 years!

“Inspired by Sir Jay’s actions, I am announcing an amnesty to all those other Old Tauntonians who harbour Taunton School library books on their shelves at home – I know I’m one!

“In so doing, we can raise further funds which will go towards developing the Library.”

Ashenden is a collection of short stories about a gentleman spy which is said to have influenced Ian Fleming’s later series of James Bond novels.

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