Thursday, April 14, 2016

Two Sad Losses RIP


In short order the League has lost two of its most long-standing and prominent members. Not only is this a loss to the Quiz League, but as teachers both made a significant contribution to preparing youngsters and youth in the town to face the world,

Rick Davis will be known to all quiz players even if they never played against him – he was a exceptional question master in the Cup and Plate finals maintaining a firm hand enlightened with quips and comments and demonstrating  a remarkable breadth of knowledge. He was a teacher at Beech Hall school whose pupils thought very highly of him, as can be seen in this article in the local paper. The thoughts of all quiz members go out to his family and friends.



I am thrilled to reproduce the article beneath taken from the newspaper Chiang Mai Sixes – Rick had many strings to his bow!! Hope to include more soon.


The other sad loss was Alan Levitt who had played in the league for almost 30 years – I have been given permission to reproduce the address given by Tony Browne, the light touch I feel being just right.


“We have come here this afternoon to say goodbye to a brother, a good friend, ex-colleague and a quizzer.

Alan was born to Hilda and Fred Levitt on 10th July 1952 and lived in Buckingham Street, Hull. Two years later Alan’s brother Mike joined the very close-knit family. Alan attended the local infant and junior school in Crowle Street. During his time here he was a studious and gifted pupil who at the age of 8 joined the Science Club, looking for facts and the understanding of many things. He was the first in the group to know why a flame needs oxygen to burn and why liquid expands. He sat the 11+ and became the first pupil from Crowle Street school to pass and therefore go to Hull Grammar School in 1963.

As a youngster Alan was a very keen train spotter and spent many hours pursuing his hobby. When he started at Grammar school he was delighted to see they ran a train spotting club.He soon joined. A few weeks later he came home and announced that the club were running a trip to York. He didn’t tell the school that in fact he and a mate had travelled the length and breadth of the country train spotting visiting places such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Eastleigh, Cardiff, Swindon and Bristol to name just a few.He left the club as he didn’t think they had anything to offer him.

Alan had many interests throughout his life. His first love was of course Hull FC. He would often put people right about the fact that there is only one club called Hull in Hull and that is Hull FC rugby league, the football team is Hull City and the Robins the other side of the city are … well the less said about them the better!! Alan would attend all the home games with his Dad and Mike and go to many of the away games also. He continued his fanaticism throughout his left even recording the Australian rugby league matches and sending them over to Hull for Mike to watch.

Alan’s second love was that of music particularly Bob Dylan, although Bob Dylan and music seem a contradiction in terms to some of us but not to Alan. He had all his recordings and saw him in concert on many occasions. Although his favourites were Dylan, The Band, David Bowie and more recently Natalie Merchant he always had a very wide interest in music. From being a teenager through to his 30’s he amassed an amazing collection of albums. In fact if you had visited him in his flat in Chestergate you would have seen albums from floor to ceiling on all four walls. He had in excess of 30,000 albums!! Most of these he sold for a deposit on his house in Coronation St.,

Duri9nt this time Alan had left Hull Grammar School and gone to Bangor to study theology and trained to become a teacher. In 1975 he took up his first, and only, post at Ivy Bank School. It was a career which would put his love of learning and vast general knowledge, as well as his capacity to see humour in many situations to extremely good use. He was very much loved and respected by staff and pupils alike. During his 30+ years at the school Alan guided the football, tag rugby, cricket and netball teams through many successful seasons winning a number of trophies when sport was allowed to be competitive. He also ran the junior Macclesfield Town football team for a number of years.

During the 1990’s Alan had a spell of visiting many exciting and exotic countries such as China, America, Russia, South Africa and Australia. I think the latter was to watch a number of rugby league games rather than to see the sights.Later these solo trips became holidays with a number of the ladies from the staff of Ivy Bank. They visited various European destinations such as Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Rome and Lake Como. Although everyone looks back on these trips with great love and happy memories Alan would not always want to take it easy and take a trip on a beautiful lake, he would rather see another art gallery or museum.

As I have mentioned already Alan had a fantastic general knowledge and a great thirst for learning. This led him to an interest in quizzes. He had played in the Macclesfield Pub Quiz League for nearly 30 years and was well known for his ability. He was a member of teams that had won both the League and the Cup. He always featured in the top ten individual scores at the end of the season winning it outright on a number of occasions. Alongside the serious stuff of the League he attended many fun quizzes both as a competitor or question master.Here Alan would not only show his great knowledge but also his dry wit and dry sense of humour would come to the fore. He had run a very successful and popular quiz at the Flower Pot on Monday evenings for 25 years. Not an easy task to thin of two different marathon rounds, a picture round, a music round along with 60 general knowledge questions every week!! Monday nights just won’t be the same!!

Finally in recent years Alan had become increasingly absorbed in art and the art world. He attended an art class at Macclesfield Silk Museum for around 8 years during which he displayed exceptional talent. These art classes gave him immense satisfaction and he spent many happy hours perfecting different art techniques and experimenting with different materials. He taught himself digital art and regularly shared his work with fellow art students. He became a member of the Royal Academy of Art and presented work to the Academy for possible display.He regularly visited art galleries around the country to study the work of the great artists.

In July of this year at Macclesfield Sunday School there will be an exhibition of art work produced by “Have a Dabble”, the art group Alan attended and this will include some of his work.

Although Alan is no longer with us and will be sorely missed we will always remember him for different reasons but I am sure we will all remember him for his intellect, quick wit and dry sense of humour.”

They will both be greatly missed and always remembered. May they both rest in peace.

1 comment:

AAD said...

A difficult note on which to sign off for the season.

My face-to-face contact with Alan/Rick was limited to one night this year at the Ox-fford (Alan); but I have enjoyed the cut and thrust with Alan via this forum throughout the season. Tony has done a really good job of showing the breadth of Alan (who would have thought that he would have been a successful soccer coach, or indeed a Theology student). What wasn't alluded to was Alan's (I suspect uniquely) combative approach to quizzing that many of us around the league have certainly noticed. However, whilst definitely testing in my one experience this year, he also definitely came across as a man of sharp intellect and wit. A final apology if I can for stepping onto the wrong sort of "football", but I cannot help but think of the description of Bobby Moore as a football manager - his own skill at a particular art led to some frustration at those who struggled to do what he found easy - as some question-setters may have found. However, I often looked forward to a Levitt response to my postings and was grateful for the wisdom earlier this season after my aberration of a specialist round.

As Nick states, there was a definite poignancy to the questions on Tues, where I stood in as QM for a depleted Weaver. However, a cheerful end-of-season air reigned at the Dolphin, where the Dragons (minus the holidaying Liz, but with a squad of 7 enjoying an end of season knees-up) fell foul of the questions and the Rams who left the A-League on a high note. As one would expect, the questions were sound and secure, they seemed difficult at the time, but my after match run through suggests that I would have scored very much in line with my season's efforts (although P4 First-First got, I feel, a slightly rum deal). I don't know if Alan wrote Q95 (Lemmy), but it did inspire some lively exchanges, an un-named player was adamant that said rocker was still firmly in Hawkwind in 1975 - I wasn't budging and the matter was settled via the Motorhead fan-site. I would like to imagine Alan gazing down approvingly, both at the full-scale John McEnroe tirade at the question, and the question's ultimate correctness. RIP Alan and I hope St. Peter didn't ask anything ill-considered (eg: a date question) at the gate.

A minor aside - Peter McB made a recent reference to the problems of specificity regarding Horus - answered as "a bird", this time Anubis was responded to as "a dog" - I rejected the answer, but can't help but feel that I was harsh to do so.