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Alan Hartley is a successful accountant, but he is quite a lot more besides, including a director of Edinburgh Speedway's promoting company. This article appeared recently in 'CARITAS', the magazine of the former pupils of George Watson's College, under the heading of -


School Governor, Alan Hartley has recently been appointed Chairman of the George Watson's Family Foundation Committee. Now retired as a Tax Partner with KPMG, by his own admission Alan would not consider himself a "typical accountant" whatever that may be. Perhaps you don't normally associate accountants with many of his daredevil activities. Last year Alan was the British Veterans' Speedway Champion and in his youth he spent a year on Britain's speedway circuits on his 500cc Jawa under the pseudonym of Bengt Mudegaarde! When you find out more about the man you discover that he also holds a private pilot's license, took up skiing at the age of 45 and was once listed as one of Scotland's most eligible bachelors.
Action from Linlithgow Riding in the Motor Show - Charlie McKinna, Glyn Taylor, Bootsy Monaghan, Alan

"I can't say I enjoyed my 13 years at Watson's. Perhaps in the Fifties and Sixties it wasn't meant to be an enjoyable experience, particularly if like me, most of your time was spent in non academic classes. However, things went from bad to worse in 1961 when my dad died. My mother was left with no money and there was a real possibility that aged 13 I would have to leave watsons - you can just imagine how my arrival at another school might have been greeted by my new school mates. Fortunately, the School and the Merchant Company rallied round and my mother never again paid any school fees.
Looking back now I can point to three key events at Watson's that were to influence my later life.
After three years in "Tiger" Jamieson's maths class my knowledge of basic maths, despite his best efforts was so bad that extra tuition was required. This was so capably provided that my interest in numbers not only led me to become a trainspotter but also a chartered accountant. Some would say both pastimes were equally sad!
Having failed in my attempts to have myself invalided out of the Combined Cadet Force (Captain Morgan said I was “just a wimp”, I was dispatched to the Royal Engineers section. That led to an interest in all things mechanical, particularly motor cycles. For a while I was a professional speedway rider and even today race in the UK and Europe.
Not only were my school fees waived, but I was given a weekly supply of school dinner tickets. I found these could be sold for cash (tax free) and my first practical lesson in the ways of business was quickly assimilated.
It is with particular pleasure, therefore, that I find myself as a School Governor and newly appointed Chairman of the Foundation Committee. Perhaps now I am in a position to repay some of the good fortune I benefited from while at Watson's."