Heath Old Boys Association


Letters from Old Boys


Fazal Ellahi [Heath 1977–84]

Hi Hamer

Goodness, I guess you're not expecting to be called ‘Hamer’ again.

I bumped into our former school secretary many a year ago, and recall how proud she was of you, having joined the police force if I recall correctly.

I was just trying to update my entry on a networking website (Linkedin) and add some details about Heath school, when I decided to quickly Google for it, and ended up reading this fascinating account at: Heath in the Eighties

It alleges that I (Fazal Ellahi, at the time) was the candidate for the Alliance Party, which I can’t remember doing! Okay, it might have happened, but the bit about throwing the towel in and joining the Conservatives sticks in my throat. Did we really do that? Holland never made it to Oxford; he came to Durham along with me and Simon Stead.

One thing I found missing was the dedication of the teachers at Heath, how for example they were willing to give free out-of-hours lessons to pupils.

I got an ‘A’ in O-level Latin, and a good A-level in Further maths from free lessons. Can you imagine how much those lessons would have cost if you had to pay a professional teacher?

By the way I was not a second generation immigrant — I was born in Pakistan; so I guess that makes me what the Italians call a Primo, i.e. first generation immigrant. That bloody hypocrite Enoch Powell and his friends have a lot to answer for... but that’s another story.

I’m sometimes in Halifax; so if you’re in the neighbourhood we could meet up for a coffee but to be honest we were never really in the same crowds were we?

Hope you’re doing well, and enjoying life, wherever you are.

Kind regards

Fazl Rahman ()

(Formerly: ‘Ellahi’ — that was always my Dad’s last name, not mine. it’s complicated, but it only cost £3.50 to correct.)

PS I have added this blurb to my Linkedin entry:

I joined Heath unaware its forbidding walls enclosed one of the best teaching traditions in England. I got an ‘A’ in Latin via free lunchtime lessons from Mr Guy, and Simon Stead and I got free Further Maths lessons from Albert Crosby. Such dedication in teachers was certainly not seen at some of the other schools that friends of mine attended. Heath Grammar was given Royal Charter by the original Queen Elisabeth (1st) as a free school (no fees: you pass an exam) over four centuries ago. The road it’s on is named ‘Free School Lane’ after the school. The fools at the local education authority first dropped the ‘Grammar’ as a compromise to Crossley & Porter School (a bigger but not better rival...) who also wanted ‘Grammar’ in their name. Soon after Heath’s 1985 Quatercentenary Anniversary, they closed it and moved its teachers and pupils to the now renamed ‘Crossley Heath’ school.

Hi Jon

Nice to hear from you. I’m somewhat surprised any of the ‘in crowd’ remember me.

I have found myself working in German-speaking countries in mainland Europe over the last ten years or so.

Been secretly hoping to bump into Mr Edwards on one of my visits to Hx, and strike up a conversation in German without letting on who I am initially. I thought he might appreciate knowing that someone actually put his teaching to use in the real world. I tried writing a note to him c/o Mr Stansfield a couple of years ago or so, but never got a reply. Maybe he couldn’t read my writing.

Ah, Potts. I remember a highly amusing event in the schoolyard once when Potts offered Jim Scrimshaw a bite of his apple. Scrim accepted the apple, opened his gob so wide you’d think he had dislocatable jaws and returned half of quite a large apple while trying to keep a straight face and not choke. Potts was stood there staring at the half apple in his hand in disbelief. See if Potts remembers this story next time you meet up.

Jim was working for an agricultural research organisation a couple years back, but wanted to get into the police (or fire service?). I think he might have done that now. Maybe you know more about that — I guess you’re in touch.

Harrison ? Wasn’t he always the cheerful fellow with a smile for everyone? And Hynes was a decent bloke at heart, came across a bit of a rebel till you got to know him.

Stoz, Normy, Tobin — Yes, I do remember them all :-) do say Hi for me.

Kindest regards,

Fazl