||Ian's early years were spent in York, where his father was a Professor of Physics and his mother an administrator at the University. He retained lots of friends from these schooldays. This is a tribute from Miggy Biller, nominally his Maths teacher but someone who over the years, together with her husband Pete became good friends:
When I was 25 I started teaching at St Peter's - a public school in York that seemed to me an amazingly conventional, all male establishment, until I started teaching a small Further Maths group and realised there was at least one significant exception to this rule. This Further Maths group contained Ian.
I was later told that Ian had been quite a rebel in the previous years, but to me he just came across as very bright, very unconventional and good fun, and also someone who was at the same time very serious about work. It would be misleading to say that I taught Ian Maths in those early months, for it was undoubtedly Ian who taught me, especially in the case of statistics, about which I knew virtually nothing. He didn't seem to mind my inadequacies (or he concealed his real thoughts), and between us we shared our knowledge with the rest of the group. I'm sure I still have copies of exam solutions he gave me to copy for other students when I didn't have time to do them myself. I think I refrained from giving them out to Alan when I taught him a year or so later!
The atmosphere was tremendous in the group and a close and humorous friendship started between Ian and myself. I remember Ian and some of the others coming to help us decorate our recently bought house. It will not surprise you to hear that wall-paper scraping rapidly diminished as wine glasses filled up, nor that the member of the group who suffered somewhat, because he was not used to drink, was NOT Ian!
One memory from this early period which sticks in my mind, and I know always stuck in Ian's too, was the group's final lesson with me before their A level exam. On June 6 1975, less than four hours after our older daughter Susie was born, the group had their last Further Maths lesson with me beside my bed in Fulford Maternity Hospital. I guess in a way that cemented Ian's friendship with all our family - especially Susie?
Our kids were probably Ian's first experience of babies - but that didn't seem to put him off - and a good thing too. Probably even more surprising is the fact that his encounter with our kittens, and what it can mean to have an untrained kitten on your lap, did not seem to put him off having cats either.
He started visiting our household regularly, and never stopped, often coming with any pals who were around. Eileen was, I think, part of one such crowd at an early stage way before they got married.
Early friendship with Ian also led to friendship with other Heavenses - Alan and then Ann, and Ollie and Eva, who will doubtless remember being (probably exasperated) taxi drivers between our houses. I really do think we have to thank Ian for these friendships.
Both our daughters became very good friends of Ian, and they found it amusing in recent years to introduce him to their pals as "Mum's ex pupil". In a way this was very appropriate, because, even though in relation to their age it was hard to think of Ian as a pupil, since he was always so youthful and treated everyone as an equal, age-gaps always seemed irrelevant.
In more recent years Ian would roll up almost unannounced with Alex and/or Dan - probably at least one in a back pack. Ian once got off a train at about 10 in the evening, and turned up with Alex aged about 2. He just plonked Alex on the floor, and joined in the party that happened to be going on, while Alex played completely happily, utterly confident about where he was.
Ian was always very warm and hospitable and interested in you. When Pete (my husband) came to give a lecture in Edinburgh, Ian came and listened even though it was on History. I guess HE would say he just came for the whisky afterwards - I'm not sure that wasn't my reason too!
He was always encouraging us to come and stay - and we took him up on it, and had a great time. In fact last year we had actually come to hear Bryn Terfel perform, and I still strongly suspect that Ian organised the cancellation of that concert so that we could listen to him instead at the Bongo Club that night. Susie - who is now 25 years on from that hospital bed where Ian's last A-level Maths lesson took place - stayed several times. Her big regret on the last visit was that she did not actually see Ian. This is the way Ian put it when we saw him next: ' It was great having Susie to stay - in fact, I don't think I saw her - she was asleep by the time I got in, and I was still asleep when she left - tell her to come again!'
Ian last visited us a few months ago, for a weekend. As usual he happily joined in with our chaotic lifestyle, keeping us up far too late, of course (though that was undoubtedly as much our fault as his). He was the same as ever. There was both jokey and serious chat. There was lots of asking about our (now grown-up) kids, and lots of description of his own kids. He could definitely be accused of being the proud dad: you both sounded great fun. There were also descriptions of Martin and Katy: he seemed to think you were very grown-up and sensible. But maybe he was only comparing you to himself at your age!
I remember Ian as a pal, who happened also to have been a pupil - one of the best I've ever had - and as someone who got on well with an enormous range of people, all types, all ages. Lots of us will miss him badly but we'll always have tales to tell that'll make us chuckle.