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.
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.