Somerset

Ex-Taunton School pupil returns 65-year late book and pays £1,500

Sir Jay with returned library book Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Jay found the old book while clearing out some shelves

An ex-school pupil has returned a book 65 years after borrowing it, as well as paying a £1,500 "fine".

Sir Jay Tidmarsh, 82, re-discovered his long-forgotten copy of Ashenden by W Somerset Maughan while clearing out his shelves.

The former businessman opened the cover and spotted the stamp of Taunton School, which he had left in 1949.

He said: "I thought I should do the decent thing and return the book - paying my dues at the same time."

Sir Jay was the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol between 1996 and 2007.

'Valued supporter'

He decided to return the book to Taunton School in Somerset alongside a £1,500 donation to the school 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."

Sir Jay and his wife Lady Virginia made a special trip back to the independent school with the book.

Neil Longstreet, 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 Taunton School library books on their shelves at home - I know I'm one."

Ashenden is a collection of short stories about a British spy during World War One.

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