Mike spots grandparents in 1930s film

Michael Boulton with a photograph of his grandfather and grandmother, with Mike's father when he was about a year old

Michael Boulton with a photograph of his grandfather and grandmother, with Mike's father when he was about a year old

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A surprise was in store for a Ramsey man when he visited the archive film show at the Sing and Sign in the Park event.

The promotional day for the island’s deaf population featured a cinema show set up in a vintage bus, showing footage from the 1937 Deaf Association conference held in the Isle of Man and on it Mike Boulton spotted his grandfather William.

‘I knew him very well,’ Mr Boulton said.

‘We saw them regularly and we also lived with them for a time. I also have pictures of him from when he was younger.’

The film, shot in 1937 by Leslie Edwards, the then Deaf Association secretary, follows people on the convention visiting Peel, Rushen Abbey and Mooragh Park, watching a TT race from near the Bungalow and attending a church service. William Boulton is clearly seen outside the door of St George’s Church speaking in sign language.

Sing and Sign in the Park organiser and island Deaf Champion Gareth Foulkes said: ‘He is animatedly signing to the camera ‘‘E D W A R D S, camera now’’.’

Retired teacher Mike Boulton said his grandfather was a champion swimmier in the Isle of Man and carried on swimming regularly in the Ramsey open air lido until he was aged more than 80.

Originally from Chester, where he had played water polo, he met his wife Amanda at the Liverpool Deaf School where they were both pupils. She was from Ramsey where her parents owned the Crown pub.

The pair moved to Ramsey after they were married and he worked as a tailor.

William Boulton was a member of both the Isle of Man Deaf Club and of the BDA, regularly attending their events in the UK in Brighton and Aberdeen.

The films served as a form of communication for the BDA’s members and were loaned to deaf clubs across Britain.

William, who was born in 1880 and died in the early 1960s, went deaf at the age of three but was fluent in sign language which he preferred to use. He taught the language to his grandson.

Amanda went deaf aged five as a result of a bout of scarlet fever but was more adept at speaking than William as a result of losing her hearing when she was older.

Mr Foulkes said: ‘Interestingly, William taught Mike a very old (18th century) form of fingerspelling for the letters Z and Y. I wonder if this is what they used in Liverpool Deaf School when he attended.’

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