Leeds comedy star’s classic car is labour of love after tragedy

The Grumbleweeds - Graham Walker (left) and Robin Colvill.
The Grumbleweeds - Graham Walker (left) and Robin Colvill.
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WHEN comedian Robin Colvill lost his stage partner last year he found himself at a loss.

He and Graham Walker, who was 69 when cancer claimed his life, had worked together for decades as the founders of Leeds-born comedy act The Grumbleweeds.

“We shared our lives together,” said Robin. “It was like a marriage – except we did not fall out.”

Having met in a coffee bar in Meanwood, the pair worked together for 50 years, spending half that time with three others and the last decade as a double act – all under the banner of The Grumbleweeds.

It was an echo of that first meeting that finally offered Robin something tangible – in the form of an old Ford car – to help him in the months following Graham’s death.

Robin said: “When I met Graham he was in a coffee bar with Maurice Lee [a Grumbleweed for 36 years] in 1963 and I went to fix the jukebox. I rolled up in a Ford Anglia. Maurice was playing his guitar. I repaired the jukebox, Maurice put the guitar away and I said: ‘Do you want to join a group?’ He said: ‘Who’s in it?’ and I said: ‘Up to now, you.’

“Then he said: ‘What about my mate [Graham]? I can teach him to play bass.’”

A month before Graham died, Robin bought a 1964 Ford Anglia Super and told his friend he had to stay alive to see it restored.

“It was a total wreck – an absolute rust bucket,” said Robin, from Tingley. “You couldn’t drive it. Everyone said that there was no way I could restore it.”

But 900 hours of labour later, the car was returned to its former glory. Sadly Graham, from Bramhope, did not live to see the finished result.

Robin’s car will be among hundreds of vintage and classic cars at the Yorkshire Post Motor Show and Classic Car Rally at Harewood House on Father’s Day. For tickets, call 0113 218 1001 or visit www.harewood.org.

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