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Home Ashford News Article
Victor Allin, 74, and his wife Margaret had a shock when they received a card from one of Mr Allin’s old army buddies containing a cheque for £175.75p.
The money was sent to him from Australia by honest David ‘Taffy’ Keegan, who had borrowed £10 from Mr Allin 51 years ago.
The card read: “When I left for Paris in 1962 I owed you £10. I repaid a fiver when I saw you in Aldershot in 1964 on my way to Tokyo for the 1964 Games.
"So please accept the enclosed £5 at 7% compound interest over 51 years in the spirit in which it is offered.”
The letter concluded: “Have a nice meal on your interest.”
Mr Allin, who has four children, 12 grandchildren and four great grandchildren, said: “It was such a nice shock.
"I’m pleased Taffy has now salved his conscience, as he told me that it often played on his mind. But he had no way of contacting me because I moved away after leaving the Paras.”
Mr Allin, of Faversham Road, Kennington, and Mr Keegan met in 1958 when they both served with the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, based in Hampshire.
Mr Keegan left the Paras in 1962, and the pair met up for the last time in 1964.
The former comrades only made contact again when the Allins decided to look Mr Keegan up when they were on holiday in Prestatyn, in North Wales last year, as they knew he had once lived there.
Mr Allin explains: “We found the address for a Keegan and we went to see him. We asked if he knew David, and he told us it was his brother.
"He came on the phone and the first words he said to me were ‘I still owe you a fiver’. I had no memory of it..." - Victor Allin
"He gave me quite a scare because he said we were 40 years too late. We thought he had died! But it turned out he had moved away many years ago.”
After inviting them in, Mr Keegan’s brother, John, immediately Skyped David in Sydney, Australia, where he now lives, to tell him his old associate had come to visit.
Mr Allin says: “He came on the phone and the first words he said to me were ‘I still owe you a fiver’. I had no memory of it.”
The pair are now planning on meeting up later this month when Mr Keegan visits
Mr Keegan said: “Vic and myself were the best of mates during the four years I served in the Third Battalion the Parachute Regiment before transferring to The Kings Troop, The Royal Horse Artillery in 1962.
“At the time of my transfer I was, to put in bluntly 'absolutely skint'.
"Vic was flush with funds which I suspect could only have been amassed from a game of poker or a successful visit to the White City greyhounds.
“As our pay at the time was four pound ten shillings plus an extra eight shillings a week for jumping out of planes, you can imagine what the ten pounds he lent me meant at the time.
“I managed to repay Vic half of what I owed him then, leaving a fiver to be repaid at a later date. Time marched on and as often happens between good mates we lost touch with each other.”
Mr Keegan, who has lived in Sydney since 1973, said that the £5 debt often plagued his mind. He explains: “Many is the time I woke worrying about owing a good mate a loan given without hesitation when I most needed it.”
Mr Keegan adds that it was lovely hearing from Mr Allin again.
“Imagine my surprise when I worked out that five pounds at compound interest over the time meant I had to repay Vic one hundred and seventy pounds and seventy five pence!" - 'Taffy' Keegan
“What a wonderful surprise it was to be back in touch after what proved to be over half a century.
“We have stayed in touch since and I am looking forward to shaking his hand when I visit him and his wife later this month whilst on my way to Paris.
“The idea of facing him still owing him a fiver was too embarrassing, so I decided to repay him with interest before I arrived in Ashford.
“I suppose the moral of the story is, don’t wait 50 years to repay an old mate a fiver!”
Mr Allin says he will spend his interest on a nice meal out for the three of them at the Eastwell Manor Hotel.
He added: “I’m really looking forward to seeing him. It is an exciting time. It will probably be the one and only time we see each other again. The cheque was a by-product really, the best thing is that we’re now back in touch.”
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