Amand Ayensu (1976-1980; Butleigh) has recently landed a role in a new TV series on Yesterday Channel called Classic Car Garage, where Amand and the team encourage owners to get involved in the maintenance and mending of their motors themselves.
The series follows classic car specialists as they welcome classic car owners from across the UK to the Classic Car Garage for Tinker Days to help fix those perennial problems that classic cars always encounter.
Throughout the series, the Classic Car Garage welcomes a wide range of cars, from should-be museum pieces from the 1930s to modern classics and everything in between. Many of the cars the team look at are due to head to some of the prestigious events on the classic car calendar, such as the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace, The Classic at Silverstone, Goodwood Revival and CarFest South, plus many more.
It was great to hear about Amand’s time at Millfield and how it has helped him get to where he is today:
“I was 16 when I came to Millfield. I was immediately struck by the welcoming and friendly atmosphere - and the excellent food! Though being Ghanaian I missed the warm weather of my mother country, but I did enjoy the warmth from my housemates and houseparents in Butleigh House. My guide was Eduardo Brittingham, with whom I am still in contact. During sixth form I was made a School Prefect, and then Head of House in my final year.
“A fond memory I have is when we were so completely snowed in one winter, that the ‘O’ Level mock exams had to be cancelled, giving more time for revision! There was also the adventure of going into Butleigh village and clearing snow from residents’ back and front doors, and to a nearby farm for fresh milk, even having to burn wood in our fireplaces. Another great memory I have is when I used to play the piano in the Tuck Shop during break or lunchtimes and fellow students would make requests for various trending pop songs, which I was usually able to play. Lots of fun was had there.
“I had a brilliant education at Millfield, achieving 11 O Levels and 3 A Levels in Maths, Physics, Engineering, and many others. I also joined the Jazz Club where I learned jazz guitar, and how to sight-read music after I joined the choir.
“I especially benefitted from the small classes and dedicated teachers, as well as the superb facilities (for example all those piano rooms where I could go and just play for ages before taking the late bus home), and the Metal Workshop where I learned a lot of the engineering that I still use today.
“I currently teach Motor Mechanics at Havering College, Romford, part of the New City College group.
“The show is all about helping owners of classic cars to keep them running, hence the term Tinkering. We ran Tinkering days at a well-equipped garage and invited various car clubs to bring their cars and tinker with them, fixing small but important issues, like indicators or fuel gauge not working. We don’t do engine rebuilds or full restorations, but rather the small things owners can do to keep their pride and joy working. We like owners to have a smile on their face at the end of a visit to the garage. Learning about their own car and how to repair it gives owners the confidence to do so, and it’s clear to see how happy they are afterwards.
“The show itself is 10 episodes long, and I think we are about half-way. Nonetheless all episodes can be streamed for free via UKTVPlay.
“All in all, Millfield gave me the confidence to approach any situation without fear, and also to always be myself.” – Amand.