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News > Obituaries > Obituary: Roger Howell

Obituary: Roger Howell

David Pickup recalls his memories of Roger Howell from their school days in the 1950s.
25 Oct 2022
Written by David Pickup


1950's OOs

I remember Roger from my schooldays and he can most aptly be described as a loveable rogue. My classmates Tony Hughes and George Roberts-Jones were two of Roger's closest friends and they spent a lot of time together; they can be seen here together in this photograph along with my brother Bernard and myself.

(Back L-R) Tony Hughes, Roger Howell, X, X
(Front L-R) George Roberts-Jones, Bernark Pickup, David Pickup

Roger was a mischievous character and trouble of one kind or another somehow seemed to follow him around.

George kept pigeons and when one went missing he asked his friend to keep an eye out for it. Roger lived nearby on the Racecourse and as his neighbour also kept pigeons George suspected that it might go to roost there. True enough, a few days later Roger found the errant bird in his neighbour's pigeon loft and brought it into class secreted in his jacket pocket. He proceeded to hide it in his desk and went to tell George. Inevitably the pigeon escaped causing chaos by flying around the classroom in a panic, leaving unseemly messages all over the furniture. 

As unrest began to escalate at Oswestry in the period leading up to the putsch of 1961, Roger found himself in hot water with the Prefects for a prank too far. Letting down the car tyres of an unpopular Master, who subsequently threatened to bring in the police, resulted in him being hauled over the coals and warned not to do it again. Fortunately no action was taken by the Master involved.

On leaving school Roger went to work for his father who was a well established local insurance broker, and the friendship with his schoolmates continued.

Tony and George told me that there was never a dull moment when Roger was around, and a day out together was always fun. The trio often spent Saturday afternoons visiting local farms to shoot vermin, including grey squirrels for which they were paid a handsome two shillings per tail by the Forestry Commission, and they also took part in many local clay pigeon shoots.

Tony and Roger's Mini Cooper S racing through the Welsh forests

Fast cars and rallying with Oswestry Motor Club was another common interest, and Roger and Tony eventually formed the Welsh Border Car Club (WBCC). They achieved considerable success taking part in many events and in 1965 they decided to compete together, using Tony's Mini Cooper S, in the Welsh International Car Rally along with three other WBCC members.

This was a weekend-long race from Cardiff to North Wales and back through the forests of Wales, and it proved to be Roger's last rally. Although no slouch behind the wheel himself, he was heard to say later to a fellow club member "Never again... he scared the living daylight out of me!" (or words to that effect).

I know exactly what he meant as I had experienced a dice with death when sitting alongside Tony in a madcap race against Roger and George to the seaside town of Borth in the early sixties. They were all speedfreaks and addicted to fast cars.

A day out to Borth
(Back L-R) Bernard Pickup, Roger Howell, George Roberts-Jones, X, X, David Pickup
Roger's sister Glennis is seated (centre)

George and Carolin with their Austin Healey Sprite

During the sixties Tony moved away from the area but upon returning in the late eighties the friendship was renewed.

Roger was fond of a beer or two and a favourite watering hole was The Red Lion in Oswestry. At the end of an afternoon flying a hot air balloon from the Maes-y-Llan Tony would call in at The Red Lion for refreshment and Roger would often come in with his daily paper in his back pocket, order a pint, and chat to Tony about the old days whilst doing the crossword. 

To quote Tony and George... "He was a good friend". RIP.

My sincere condolences to Roger's family.

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