Tributes to popular former Bury driving instructor

Wilf Eley pictured with his trophies in the 1960s

Wilf Eley pictured with his trophies in the 1960s

First published in News Bury Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A WELL-known former Bury driving instructor who was a prisoner of war during World War Two has died.

The funeral of Wilf Eley, who was aged 95, was held today at Radcliffe Crematorium.

He was a familiar face to many drivers in Bury, as he spent all of his working life as a driving instructor across the borough, before retiring in the late 1980s.

Steve Quill, Mr Eley’s son-in-law who lives in Poole, said: “Anyone who met him described Wilf as an old fashioned gentleman.”

Mr Eley was born in Cambridge, and signed up to serve during World War Two at the age of 22, serving in the Royal Norfolk Regiment.

He was in Singapore when the Japanese army took control from the British, and was captured and sent to the notorious Changi prisoner of war camp.

Mr Quill said: “He didn’t talk about it for many years, and he only started mentioning it very late in his life. There is only one word to describe what he went through — horrendous.”

After the war, Mr Eley moved north and embarked on his career, first working for a driving school, then setting up his own from his home in Ainsdale Avenue, where he lived throughout his time in Bury.

Mr Eley was member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, among other driving organisations, and taught thousands of people to drive, as well as several generations of the same families.

His passion for driving did not stop when he got home from work, as he took part in go-karting and rallying competitions with his friend and navigator, Bernard Maloney, and the pair won numerous trophies and accolades.

Mr Quill said: “As soon as he came home from work, he would then go in the garage, and start preparing his go-karts for the weekend.”

Mr Eley was also a keen racquets player and continued to play badminton and squash into his 60s, later winning over 65s and over 70s competitions.

His wife May, who was a long serving teacher at Chantlers Primary School, died 18 months ago.

He leaves a son John, daughter Susan, and six grandchildren.

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