Prolific correspondent and Guardian letter writer dies

Alan Carcas.
Alan Carcas.

One of the Spenborough Guardian’s most prolific letter writers, Alan Carcas, has died at the age of 81.

A retired Conservative Party agent and prolific letter writer for both local and national titles, Alan became known for his well-written analyses of current events, history, the law and whatever topic inspired him.

Born in East Ham, London, Alan was evacuated twice as a young boy during World War Two, to Huntingdon and Wakefield.

After the war he returned to the capital and won a scholarship to East Ham Grammar School, aided by a teacher in Huntingdon.

Alan maintained that he would not have got the place without her pushing him to win his place.

He kept in touch with some of the pupils he met at East Ham Grammar long after they had left, exchanging news online with other alumni. His first job was at British Insulated Callender Cables, before leaving to work in British telecoms, then managed by the Post Office.

He surveyed areas to calculate how many phone lines would be needed to connect residents.

It was a stroke of luck that propelled him into his political career.

Alan was part of the Post Office’s football pools syndicate – and the syndicate won.

Alan received a share of £1,600 – enough money to sit the Conservative Party agent exams.

As an agent, Alan headed political campaigns, taking charge of fundraising and canvassing.

He also looked after Conservative councillors in his area and ensured MPs turned up on time and did as they were told!

His career saw him work with Alec Douglas Home, Harold Macmillan, former Spen MP George Wilfred ‘Wilf’ Proudfoot and Ted Heath.

He also worked as the agent for MEP Will Hopper and ran for the Liversedge ward in the local elections.

It was on the course to become a party agent that Alan met his wife, Joyce, and they were married in 1959, the same year he passed the exams.

They lived in London after their wedding and moved to Cornmill Lane, Liversedge in the 1960s.

Alan retired from politics aged 50, but continued his passion through his letter writing.

His letters were a regular feature on the Spenborough Guardian letters page, and his writing was also published in the Yorkshire Post, Telegraph and Argus and national titles including the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Alan would write about whatever issue inspired him and send the letter to as many publications as he saw fit.

He was also a keen West Ham United Football Club supporter and was lucky enough to see England win the World Cup at Wembley in 1966.

Alan took a keen interest in local schools, and was chairman of the Norristhorpe Junior and Infant School and was also the vice-chairman at Liversedge Secondary Modern School.

In his retirement he began researching his family’s history.

Alan also reunited branches of his family which had lost contact many years before.

After one of his letters was printed, he recieved a phone call from a long-lost cousin and from there managed to reunite three branches of his family for annual reunions.

The yearly celebrations, which began around 25 years ago, have been held in Dumfries, Southhampton, Wales, Norfolk and many places in between. He enjoyed music, particularly classical and jazz, and regularly saw the Manchester Philharmonic perform.

Alan was a family man – and on the first Sunday of each month, the Carcas clan would get together for a traditional Sunday dinner.

But it was his letter-writing that won Alan local fame.

On hearing the name Carcas, his daughter would be asked ‘are you Alan’s daughter?’ and during visits to the hospital he would be asked if he was the Alan Carcas from the letters page.

One Spenborough Guardian reader even had the paper posted to Canada after she emigrated so she could read Alan’s letters.

Alan passed away on August 29 aged 81. His funeral will take place at 11am on Tuesday at All Souls Church, Norristhorpe, followed by burial at Liversedge Cemetery.

He leaves wife Joyce, children Don, Peter and Carol, grandchildren Jamie, Saul and Eve and great-grandchildren Nora and Reuben.