After walking through the gates, Tony became a renowned writer

Tony Earnshaw
Tony Earnshaw

To many Echo readers the name of Tony Earnshaw will mean very little and to his fellow students at Rastrick Grammar School he was just another student who walked through the school gates on that first and no doubt daunting day in 1977.

Little did they know that Tony was a storyteller and by the middle of his junior school years teachers were praising his skills as a spinner of epic yarns.

“Tony writes really interesting stories,” said one teacher in an early school report.

It was that ability of writing stories which would one day provide him with a job that would see him be a journalist, writer, published author, film programmer and have the opportunity of interviewing some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment.

Tony, like so many others, enjoyed his school days but had dreams and aspirations far beyond his classroom studies while the nation was looking forward that year to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations and Brighouse and Rastrick Band were breaking all records in the charts with the Floral Dance.

Along with these two events taking place children’s education was set to change in Brighouse. A change that was announced, as it turned out, for the first time in January 1978.

It was decided there will be only one comprehensive school in Rastrick, which would be situated at Reins Wood.

It was an obvious major shock when the head teacher, governors and parents first read about it.

Potential education changes at Rastrick would rumble on until the Secretary of State for Education agreed to a new scheme for Brighouse local education and agreed to a starting date for the new school given as August 1985.

This meant that, to all intents and purposes, the long history of Rastrick Grammar School had come to an end.

Tony was at the school throughout most of those days of uncertainty, leaving in 1983 to enter the world of journalism.

His life as a junior reporter started at a small privately owned newspaper in Cleckheaton, which gave him a positive start in his chosen world of work.

From this small newspaper he moved on to join the Ackrill newspaper group in Harrogate and then on to the regional Yorkshire Post newspaper in 1994.

Having spent five years working in Leeds, the opportunity presented itself for him to move to what he describes as his dream job. This was as a film programmer and festival director at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford (which is now the National Media Museum).

Having spent 1999 through to 2011 at the museum, he decided it was time to make a new start. His world of fixed employment came to an end when he chose to become a freelance journalist, broadcaster and film programmer, as well as an author. With six titles to his name already and a new book currently in progress everything is in place for a great future.

From those days at Rastrick Grammar School dreaming of the future, little did he know then that for the last 25 years he would have the opportunity of interviewing some of the biggest names in the movie world - everyone from Jack Nicholson to Dame Helen Mirren.

Tony’s work has appeared in print, online, television and on the radio.

Now he has been invited to be the guest speaker at the annual dinner of the Old Rastrickians. While having interviewed so many famous people from the world of entertainment, this will be a highlight and an occasion to savour.

This week’s featured photograph is kindly loaned by Tony. With possibly some of his fellow students from the 1977-83 era also being at the annual Rastrick Grammar School Old Boy’s Association Dinner, it should make an interesting night of convivial reflection.

This annual event is being held at 7pm for 7.30pm on Friday, March 6, at the Auctioneer Restaurant, Armytage Rd, Brighouse, HD6 1XE.

Former students of the Rastrick Grammar School who wish to attend are asked to contact John Howarth on e-mail: oldrastrickians@yahoo.co.uk or call 07835 235195.

John said: “It would be good to see any of the contemporaries of guest speaker Tony Earnshaw on the night.

“As every year, the event is open to former students of Rastrick Grammar School from all eras.”