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!
2 thoughts on “‘Doove’ has died.”
How sad! He was a cartoonist & an gentleman entrepreneur! It was good that he found you after we all searched for him unsuccessfully. Eileen’s mother died after a very lengthy battle with MND. Horrific to be trapped fully conscious in a body that slowly breaks down on you. Robbed of speech and even the ability to use your hands. Almost more tragic than a stroke which is almost the reverse. Both tragic to those left behind. The Doove was short for Duval. He claimed to be Anthony Duval Woolaston. I don’t know it that was true or simply his joke on us!
Happy Christmas and may the New Year be kind to you and yours.
P.S. The 87 year old Cal Swann has just emailed to tell me that his autobiography is just published. I helped him with reassurance and advice some years ago when he needed serious heart surgery. Seems to have worked. He ended his email saying that he was off to play table tennis with some other old wrinkle’es!
All the best as always. Paul
Sent from my iPad
Yes Paul, very sad. He faced it all with remarkable courage. Interesting about the Duval name, his middle name was Derek! So the joke was on us. All the very best to you and family. Paul