Feature

Guardian angel grandfather

In November 1970, a 21-year-old Huyton man named Rob Oxley went to his local betting shop and put his birthday money on a horse. The horse won and netted the young man enough cash to buy a second-hand Hillman Hunter with £50 to spare, and he picked up the car and headed for Liverpool city centre to the flat of his friend Terry Evans. 

Terry, a young art student who was as girl-crazy as Rob, lived over a barber’s shop on Leece Street, so Rob parked his newly-purchased car on nearby Roscoe Street. 
The Huytonian youth then got out the vehicle and noticed five men coming towards him. It was a gang he’d clashed with before nicknamed The Nazis. 

They were all skinheads and their violent reputation was known far and wide. Nice mo-mo there, mate, said the leader of the gang, looking at the Hillman Hunter, and then he held out his hand and said: “lend me the keys and I’ll take the lads for a drive.”

“Oi! You!” said a tall smartly-dressed man behind Rob. He looked as if he was in his mid-sixties and wore a tweed suit. He took out some black wallet and thrust it at Rob.

“Police! That tax disc on your car is out of date.”

The Nazis turned and hurried away, and Rob stammered, “Yeah I know, but, but er, well, I’m just going to get me tax sorted out now, honest.”’

“Yes, well there’s a convenient post office on that corner so you can go there now”, said the plain-clothed policeman, pointing to Leece Street Post Office. 

Although Rob was a bit ruffled by the lawman, he thought there was something tantalizingly familiar about him. Had he seen him on the telly? Not as far as he could remember, so why did he look so familiar? 

The policeman escorted him to the post office door then walked away. Rob paid £25 for a year’s road tax, then went to Terry’s flat and moaned to his friend about only having twenty-five quid left. He then noticed a canvas in the corner which showed a beautiful girl Terry had painted at the art school.

“Who’s that beauty?” Rob enquired.

“Forget it mate, she’s a real classy girl; aristocratic she is”, Terry replied, “Rosaline Hadley her name is, and she’s going to be the next big thing in modelling.”

“Can you introduce me to her?” Rob asked, smiling Coyly at the painting.

Terry chuckled and brought his friend back down to earth. 

“Not being funny or anything Rob, but she’s probably got a fellah and I bet he’s well-heeled. What would she see in you?”’

“You’d be surprised Terry mate - the old personality isn’t it, eh? I could charm the birds out the trees me. Look mate, if you can get me to meet her I’ll give you twenty quid.”

Terry accepted the challenge and he gave Rob an easel, canvas, brushes and paints and on the following day when Rosaline turned up to pose for a sitting at the Hope Street art school, Rob set up his easel at the front of the class. 

Everyone assumed Rob was a new student, and after the session, Rob Oxley got chatting to Rosaline, and the unbelievable happened: he and Rosaline hit it off. He started dating her and twice a week Rob would drive out to the mansion in Knowsley where Rosaline lived and pick her up. 

By now he had put his gambling on hold and obtained a job on a Chester market stall which allowed him to save. On weekends Rob would take Rosaline to inns and restaurants around Cheshire and Lancashire and things started to get serious between the young couple. 

Rob planned to buy Rosaline an expensive engagement ring soon. Then one Saturday afternoon as Rob was driving his Hillman Hunter up Blindfoot Road - a country lane near Rainford - on his way to Rosaline’s home, a figure appeared next to him in the passenger seat, and Rob swore with fright. 

It was the police official who had cautioned him about his road tax disc! He turned to Rob and said, “Don’t be scared Rob. I’ve come to save your life. When you reach the fork in the road, turn left. Do not turn right or you will be killed. A man is waiting there with a shotgun. He was a boyfriend of Rosaline.”’

And then the passenger was gone. Rob slowed the car in shock and thought of the ghost’s warning. He took the road to the left instead of the usual route up Mossborough Road. 

When he picked up Rosaline he told her what had happened, and she told him a strange thing. 

Her previous boyfriend – Marlowe Hastings had telephoned her last night and threatened he’d shoot Rob unless she came back to him. 

Rosaline contacted the police and they visited Hastings. The ex-boyfriend was scared by the visit and never bothered Rosaline and Rob again. 

The couple married, and years later, Rob was shown a photograph of his grandfather George, who had died when Rob was only five. It was the very same man who had warned him of the tax disc (and scared off the skinhead gang) and the ghost who had appeared in his car. 

George had evidently loved his grandson that much, he had returned from beyond the grave to protect him.

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