Former Pupil Returns School Library Book 65 Years Late with Fine to Make Amends
A former pupil has returned a library book to his school 65 years after borrowing it – together with a £1,500 “fine” to make amends. He found the old school book as he cleared shelves. ‘I thought I should do the decent thing,’ he said
Sir Jay Tidmarsh, 82, came across the long-forgotten copy of Ashenden by W Somerset Maugham as he cleared out his shelves. The former businessman opened the cover and spotted the stamp of his old school, which he had left in 1949.
Sir Jay, who was the Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol between 1996 and 2007, decided to return the book to Taunton School, in Somerset, and make a £1,500 donation to the library.
He 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 trip back to the independent school where they were given a lunch in their honour.
Neil Longstreet, the director of the Taunton School Foundation, said: “Sir Jay is a much-valued supporter of the foundation and 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 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 British spy during the First World War.