Mr Newton took us for Physical Education. I suppose he was in his mid forties although I have often been surprised that teachers were inevitably much younger than the age we would imagine. My mental image of him always includes a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth and a dark blue track suit. I remember his favourite form of punishment was making pupils hang from the wall bars and hitting them on the backside with the end of the gym ropes which were bound with leather. We had one classmate who was from London and of course his accent drew much abuse – his name was Matthews. Actually, he was extremely annoying and the only boy I remember every having a fight with (twice). Mr Newton was doling out the Rusholme Rope Trick to Matthews which gave him so much pain that he started crying. He turned round, shouted that the teacher had no right to be hitting him and left the gym. Not long after, I am fairly sure he was expelled. Didn’t fit in, you understand.
Mr Newton was also responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at the college. I remember that I managed to achieve the bronze award. I always thought I wouldn’t receive the medal as I hadn’t filled in all entries in my log book and had only camped in my back garden (and then only for a couple of hours) but Mr Newton must have stepped into the breach and filled in the missing entries himself. I remember the medal came to an unfortunate end when I dropped into a beaker of acid in a chemistry lesson – it partially dissolved proving to me at least, that it had a copper content.