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In this section of the site we record the deaths and celebrate the lives of people who have been our friends and have been involved with Optical Busstop in someway. If you would like to add your own tributes to any of the people listed below please get in touch with us via the Contact page.

Jack Stokes died 2016



Although not one of the Optical Busstop group Jack was a friend to most of us. We haven't got his exact dates but his funeral was at Overdale crematorium on Wednesday 26th October 2016 and we think he was around.






Mick Hayes 1951 to 2015

Mick 2014Mick died aged 64 years old in the Royal Bolton Hospital on the 9th December 2015. He had been admitted a couple of weeks earlier suffering from Pancreatic cancer.

He was a good, old hippie friend who will be missed by all but particularly by Nat & Paul who met with him at least once a week over the years. Although Mick wasn't part of Optical Busstop, he was a friend to all of us in it, largely through knowing many as he was a student at Bolton's Art School.

He can be seen in many of the photographs on this site - he seemed to have a knack of appearing in them.

Though he wasn't Scottish and had no connections to Scotland, in 2014 he decided to buy a Scottish outfit (see picture) and was very proud of it.

He was a trained painter and decorator but though he did occasionally practice his trade largely didn't.

His finest hour came in the late 80s/early 90s when he nursed his mother through treatment for cancer.

After her death he increasingly suffered from depression and in 1996 after an argument with his father he went out of an upstairs window in his home suffering severe injuries, in fact, at one stage he was clinically dead.

Nevertheless, he survived and, whilst he was never the same man again, he remained a good friend, particularly down at the pub.

In his later years, he started learning to play the guitar and started hiking, even though his first hike with Nat and Paul was pretty horrendous, starting in a blizzard and beset by snow drifts & strange animals en route - it took him 3 pints at the Bob Smithy to recover.

The end came quickly and without pain. We will miss him greatly

Mike Syddall RIP

Mike Syddall 19/12/1943 to 13/4/2013

IMG 0605Mike Syddall who died suddenly and unexpectedly on 13th April 2013, he had gone into Bolton Royal Hospital for what was supposed to be a routine operation and died whilst in the recovery ward shortly after it.

Mike had many jobs including electrician, plumber and milk man; though it was his passion for photography, he was a longstanding member of Bolton's Photographic Society, that brought him into working with Optical Busstop.

He was also a friend who we went out with fairly regularly. 

We can't quite believe he's gone, he will be greatly missed!

 If you have memories of Mike and want to share them on this site please send them to us via the Contact page.

He could also be great fun  - you can see him as one of our dafties of the month.

Romy Baskerville 1941-2012 RIP

RomyRomy Baskerville died early in January 2012.

If you have memories of Romy and want to share them on this site please send them to us via the Contact page.

There was a celebration of her life and work at the Octagon Theatre on Sunday 25 March organised by Les Smith, hosted by Andy Hay with attendance of over 500 family, friends, fellow actors, writers, directors and musicians some of whom performed.

Nat and Paul were honoured to be asked to perform the title song from 'Will ye come o' Sunday morning' with Dennis & Wendy Pye and Eileen Murphy. 'Will ye come o' Sunday morning' was a play written by Les and directed by Romy.


Paul A HarrisPaul Harris, our friend & Nat's cousin, died at the early age of 65.

He died after a short illness at his home in New Zealand in December 2010 where he was working as a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato, Hamilton.

We held a celebration of his life at the Socialist Club, Wood Street, Bolton on Saturday 26th February 2011.

Some of his poems can be found by clicking here and we'll be putting some more on the site shortly.

If you have memories of Paul and want to share them on this site please send them to us via the Contact page.


Henry Heap 1949 to 2003

HenryKenneth Henry Heap, as the judges called him, or simply 'Henry' as he was known widely by acquaintances, friends and family alike, died at an early age and is sadly missed by us all.

As a teenager he was one of the coolest cats around. He had a huge (largely stolen) record collection including an impressive Blues section, this being the music Henry loved best, particularly the early country blues.

He was always into photography and at one stage studied to degree level.

His pictures range from everyday life, demonstrations, bands & performers, animal cruelty to documenting the alternative culture in Bolton and beyond. Many of the pictures on this site were taken by him and as he was always the photographer it was hard to find a picture of him.

He was  a political activist all his life. In his early days he was (and remained) an anarchist, attending many, many demonstrations and was even imprisoned for fire-bombing places like the Army Information Office and police stations.

Later he became a hero of the Animal Liberation front when he went undercover to photograph in abattoirs  and became a 'Wanted man'. See http://www.ivu.org/animals/articles/agent.html for more information.

And then there was his celebrated harmonica playing and he also had a Zippo lighter collection that was second to none.

Henry's life, though, was one of struggle. He successfully battled heroin addiction but later, his fight with drink was less successful.

Nevertheless, through it all he kept his photographic work going and in the last couple of years seemed to be having an artistic renaissance until his untimely death took him from us.

He asked for 'Sympathy for the devil' to be played at his funeral and it was, a tribute to his irreverent spirit.

May he rest in peace.