Obituary: Geoffrey Trease

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The Independent Online
As a seven-year-old, I arrived at an obscure preparatory school, Harecroft Hall, near Seascale in Cumberland, the same term as Geoffrey Trease arrived as a makeshift teacher in 1940, writes Tam Dalyell. In the nine months that he stayed before being called up into the Army Education Corps he took us fell-running and taught us English and maths - it was his excellent maths teaching which I remember. Half a century later, when I confessed to him in his own home that I thought his strength was maths, he chuckled, "My maths was that of a 10-year-old, when you were eight - that's why I got through to you!"

Trease certainly got through to my friends, some of whom were the clever sons of scientists sent to nearby Drigg (later Calder Hall/Sellafield). Our abiding memory of Trease was his reading to us the script of Cue for Treason, an exciting story of a plot against Elizabeth I of England, with teenagers as hero and heroine. He read entrancingly. When we returned two terms later to Harecroft and heard that Mr Trease had been taken into the Army, we burst into collective tears.