Tony Woollaston , aka ‘Doove’ , a former student with me at Manchester College of Art, has died after a three and a half year battle against Motor Neurone Disease.
Why he called himself that in those days, is a mystery to me these days, but it was a name he thought up at the time, the late 1960s. We shared a house together for a year in Whalley Range in Manchester. He had the sub basement and I had the front first floor bedroom, others in the house were Alan at the back bedroom, Jim in the sitting room, and ‘Mad’ Tim in the haunted attic.
Tony was a tall lad with glasses and dressed rather snappily, I recall he had a penchant for jazzy ties, a bit of an incongruous look for a 60s art student. He had great drawing skills, and could do likenesses with ease, not an easy skill. He had it mastered way back then. He was also a bit of an entrepreneur as he did a large drawing of all of the year, printed it on the college press and then sold us the prints!
After college we lost touch. Others amongst us kept in touch, culminating in a 50th reunion at the college a few years ago. “ Anyone know what happened to Doove?” Was a question asked. None of us could find him, his internet presence seemed invisible.
Cut to May 2020, and I get a phone call out of the blue from the man himself. We had a long conversation remembering old times at college and what he and I had been up to. He’d found us when browsing through the internet and through the Manchester College of Art website where the 50th year Exhibition had been featured.
He told me on that phone call that he had MND, and was remarkably calm about it telling me about his family, and how well he was being cared for by Susan, his wife, who is also an artist.
Tony and I were then friends on Facebook. His shock of black hair now white he still had a big presence. It is to my regret that I did not make the journey to Leicester to see him. It is to his great credit that he fought so bravely against this cruelest of diseases. I was very glad to have caught up with him. It seems that he had a highly successful career in graphic design in the Leicester area, where he was from originally.
I send my condolences to Susan, and his family and many friends on a very sad loss.
I celebrate his obvious talent by adding the cartoon he did all those years ago in 1969 of all of us from that year.
Tony died in his home on the 18th November, his funeral was today. He was supported in his final years by local hospice LOROS and MNDA, there are links to them here if you wish to make a donations to them.
Rest in Peace Tony
Since posting this have heard that he said his middle name was Duval, it was in fact Derek, so as usual he was having a joke on us!