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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 72 - March 1993
Executive Member and Society Sales Officer
Sadly Alan Newstead, the Society Sales Manager, died suddenly of heart failure on Tuesday 24 November 1992 at the age of 55 years. His ashes were scattered at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre on Saturday 12 December 1992. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his wife Joan and their children Sue, Roy and John and their families.
Alan and Joan joined the Society in the early seventies. By the middle of the seventies they were deeply involved in the preservation of the cinema coach and when they realized what a poor condition the coach was in decided to raise money for the restoration of the coach.
They opened shop in the coach body of the London North Western observation coach in the down yard from which Alan's cheerful voice was regularly heard coercing both members and public to spend. During this period some £8,212 was raised.
Finally Alan and Joan became the Society Sales Officers taking over the running of the Society souvenir shop. The shop at that time had become badly run down with little stock and few Society souvenirs. Over the intervening period they have successfully turned the shop round to become a major asset to the Society.
We are pleased to announce that Joan intends to continue running the shop with the aid of her family but would also welcome assistance from other members.
Alan had strong views on the future of the BRC and could be regularly found in debate with members on a variety of subjects concerning the Centre. He successfully stood for election to the Society Executive Committee in 1991 where he was still a serving member at the time of his death.
One of the items that Alan campaigned for on a regular basis was improved lighting in the Down yard. A memorial fund has been opened to restore the lamp standard lying on number 3 platform. Any member wishing to contribute should send their contributions to Bob Frise our treasurer addressing cheques to QRS Ltd but clearly marking the back as Alan Newstead Memorial Fund.
He will be sadly missed by everyone.
First impressions can be misleading. To begin with, all those years ago, Alan was just another quiet, friendly member with a young family, willing to be rostered on the gate, or anywhere for that matter. Always saluting in mock solemnity and saying "Yes madam," when receiving his roster instructions. His wife, Joan, helped with refreshments and I knew her far better than I did Alan, until the filming of Play School in 1976, brought him right into focus.
It was after the film had been shown on television that I discovered what I was in for! My back view had been shown as Colin Blowers and I painted Met No 1's boiler and I had been heard explaining to the presenter what we were doing. It was the briefest glimpse and I hoped that not many members would recognise me. As far as Alan was concerned, my luck had run out.
"Good morning, darling," he yelled at me from platform one. "I suppose now you are a film star you'll be ignoring us all." That sort of remark was calculated to alert inquisitive members of the public and naturally they began looking round to see to whom he was talking. All they saw was an untidy female in a dirty boiler suit so they lost interest until Alan shouted, for their benefit, "She was the star turn in Play School." Eyes turned in my direction. "That was Humpty Dumpty." I shouted back. "I didn't know you were like that, darling," yelled Alan and I retreated.
"Joan," I complained to his charming wife when I found her in refreshments, "Where on earth did you find him?- he's awful, surely you can't take him anywhere?" She sympathized, admitted she had had no luck with him at all and the best thing was to ignore him!
Ignore him?- not a hope! He always managed to see me before I saw him and usually at a distance great enough for him to be able to shout out his greeting: "How's my favourite film star?"
When my book came out it changed to "How's my favourite film star and authoress? What's it like to be famous?" He would tell customers in the shop that they were standing next to a film star / authoress. They never knew what to say and would grin sheepishly. Remonstrating with Alan did no good. "You can't deny you've been seen on television."
"But that was ages ago."
"And you've written a book, what about the next one?"
Oh! Alan, how I wished I could have thought of a really good reply.
You will be so sadly missed. Quainton will never be the same.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 01 December 2017