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News > Obituaries > Obituary - Brian Bolton (OI 1947-58)

Obituary - Brian Bolton (OI 1947-58)

We are very sad to announce the passing of Brian who was at the School from 1947 until 1958.
23 Apr 2024
Written by Tina Harvey
Winner of the Osram Saloon Car Championship and an international supporting race in Sweden
Winner of the Osram Saloon Car Championship and an international supporting race in Sweden

He will be sadly missed by his family, friends and those who knew him from the School.

We are conscious that some people from the time when Brian was at the School may not be in contact with us and we would ask if you could pass on this information to those that you know.

As is the usual practice, we would like to place an obituary for Brian in the 2023-24 OI Journal and would be very grateful for any stories or memories you may wish to share which we could put together for the publication. Please address any contributions to

Sally Webber

Acting OI Chairman


I am extremely saddened to hear of the death of Brian. I knew him well at school and had the pleasure of meeting up with him again a few years later when he was racing a highly recognised yellow very quick Cortina car, powered by a V8 unit.  It became unbeatable in its class especially on the Snetterton race track in Norfolk. He was also known by his Pyramid selling company. I'm sure he will be greatly missed. 

Derek Ruffle

(OI 1952-57)


Following a summons to the Prefects’ Room one day in 1952, Brian and I each received four strokes with the same gym shoe from the same prefect for the same offence – bashing each other with knotted rugger socks. This was only one of many life experiences Brian and I were to share. Having been born in 1940 within only 3 weeks of each other, we first met in form 1A at Ipswich School in September 1951. Later, courtesy of Head of English, Martin Westwood and with only two other pupils, we were both privileged to study for our A Levels cossetted in what became known as the Star Chamber, a small store room between Room 10 in the Sherwood Block and what was then the gym.

In 1958 we each began a Student Apprenticeship with a large electrical engineering company. I joined GEC in Coventry, Brian went to Marconi in Chelmsford. There, having been awarded a Higher National Diploma, he worked for some time on government projects, radar systems and early computing. Some years later each of us had a spell working with Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

Brian married Julia in April 1965, within three weeks of my own wedding day. Their two children, Kevin and Suzanne, were born in 1967 and 1969 respectively, as were our two children. We each enjoyed sailing. But there all similarities ended. At Ipswich School Brian learned to play the piano and organ. I could just manage 'the happy wanderer' on a harmonica. Winning all the music prizes and with permission to practise on the organ at Burlington Road Baptist Church, he developed a love for the keyboard, which was to be a major factor in his life.

Another major factor was his love of speed. He started with a Matchless 600cc motorbike, but he and Julia eventually acquired an AC Ace Bristol. I well remember once turning up at their home in Sproughton in our elderly Morris 1000 Traveller to find a Nissan sports car with gull-wing doors parked outside and a bright red Ferrari in the garage. Brian’s love of sailing was indulged at weekends at Waldringfield and Burnham-on-Crouch with his 505, a high-performance mono-hull racing dinghy and his catamaran. Then, in 1966, like many other people, Brian bought a Cortina. But this was a Lotus Cortina with a 4.7 litre V8 engine with four twin-choke carburettors. With it he won the Osram Saloon Car Championship and an international supporting race in Sweden. Eventually, as if the thrill of speed on land or water was not enough, he qualified as a private pilot and enjoyed flights around the country, to Ireland and to France, in his Cessna aeroplane.

In 1976 Brian and Julia moved to Sproughton, just west of Ipswich, with Brian joining Bolton’s Garage, the family firm on Valley Road, as works director. When the site was needed for development, he established Symbol Cars in Bramford Road, a company specialising in faster sports cars. With an agency for Nissan, Brian paid many visits to Japan, where his musical abilities paid dividends. On one occasion he found himself unexpectedly giving a concert of piano music to 500 enthusiastic Japanese. Symbol Cars was eventually sold, with Brian then setting up a desktop publishing business as his version of slowing down. He also became a freemason, and used his  musical talents in encouraging and entertaining others, particularly with public concerts in aid of charitable causes. It is understood that the 2024 music competition The Freemasons Young Musician of the Year in October will be dedicated to Brian, in his memory.

During retirement, Brian designed and oversaw the building of a bungalow in their cottage garden just next to Sproughton church and on the bank of the River Gipping. It was in that church on 9th May that Brian’s funeral took place, with a packed congregation remembering
with much affection someone described as “a man of many interests, a man of many talents”.

Leigh Belcham 

(OI 1951-58)

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