Splash and 'Tache

Sir,

In 1966, I was a 15-year-old schoolboy who hitchhiked or cycled to race meetings in the south-east of England. I could afford the entry fee but not a paddock transfer, so I would wait until after the meeting, when the security guard left his post at the gate, to go into the paddock.

I asked Graham Hill for his autograph in the paddock at Brands Hatch. He said, "Hold on, son," and I waited while he chatted to a few people. Then he said, "OK, follow me," and we walked down to the old lockup garages at the bottom of the paddock, where he stripped to the waist and washed in a cold bucket of water before giving me his autograph and wishing me well. This is a man who had already been world champion and earlier that year had won the Indy 500.

A few years ago, I found his grave in what is now somebody's garden and paid my respects to the man. He was a gentleman.

I am, Yours etc, John Day, Epson, Surrey