Fact: Famous old boys

Alivin Lee in 1960The two most famous old boys of Margaret Glen-Bott are probably Alvin Lee and Richard Beckinsale.

Alvin Lee

Alvin (which was not his name at school) was one of the first pupils to attend Margaret Glen-Bott where he was something of a rebel, often being sent home for wearing unsuitable rock-n’roll type clothing. The head teacher Miss Lovatt warned him to “Smarten up and get rid of that guitar as you’ll never make a living out of it.” Possibly the only time she was quite so wrong!

His favourite teacher was a chemistry teacher whose lessons he enjoyed so much that he came top. But behaving nicely in a smart new school in Wollaton Park didn’t suit him. He kept a guitar hidden under his desk and used to practice chord shapes whenever he was bored.

He left school at 15, having played guitar since he was 12. Above is a rare picture from 1960, with the band the Jaycats, the year he left school. Alvin is on the far right.

Later he moved to London with the band Jaybirds which became Ten Years After. Alvin and the band hit the big time, famously playing at Woodstock and featuring in the classic documentary of that name. It's said that the band toured America 28 times in 7 years – still a record for a British band. Alvin is regarded as one of the most technically brilliant guitarists of rock’n’roll, though he later became as well known for rhythm and blues and country rock, releasing over 20 albums in total.The picture below was taken at the Isle of Wight Festival, in 1970.

Alvin now lives in Spain, though his mother lived near MGB school until her death last year. In May 2004 Alvin toured the UK for the first time in nine years, including a gig at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall. The tour was in support of his latest CD release, "Alvin Lee In Tennessee".

Richard Beckinsale

Richard was also an early pupil at MGB, leaving at the age of 15. He took on a number of jobs while studying at Clarendon College for further qualifications, and won a place at RADA. He broke into TV with a small role in Coronation Street but he is probably best known for his performances in Rising Damp and Porridge.

He had a daughter, Samantha, who also became an actress, with his first wife Margaret. Later he married Judy Loe with whom he had a daughter Kate, now a top screen actress. Richard died tragically young of a heart attack in 1979, aged only 31.

Helen Whitehead, Editor, Farewell to MGB


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