Friday, 22 March 2019

Leon Disco - The Legend Lives on

Leon Disco was started in the mid 1970’s by Leon School

Headmaster Mr D B Bradshaw. Every Tuesday evening there

was the LOWER SCHOOL DISCO run by Mr Bradshaw

himself with the UPPER SCHOOL DISCO on a Wednesday

evening by Mr John Shiner.

When David Ashford joined the teaching staff the

headmaster roped him in to help run the Lower School Disco.

In those days the lunch hour was 1 hour 20 minutes long. 

Headmaster Bradshaw thought a lunchtime disco 

would keep students out of mischief. He told Mr Ashford he was to be in charge then put up the money to buy the equipment.

That equipment was purchased from MAN Music – Marshall and Nun Music, run by Jim Marshall’s son.

Among those Mr Ashford brought in to run the disco he appointed 14 year of John Chapman as the DJ.  John now owns and runs a giant retro-pop radio station in Seattle Washington USA.

If it had not been for Leon Disco would KSWB Radio Clatsop have happened.

Beyond that four LEONITES work as presenters on different radio stations in the UK.

Leon Disco became famed for its 24 hour charity disco

marathons. The first happened in 1984 to support a brand

new charity opening in Milton Keynes – Willen Hospice.

The picture below shows another 24 hour charity LEON

DISCO which was run in conjunction with Horizon Radio –

now part of Heart Radio.

Don’t the Leon students look to be having fun ?

David now works with CRMK Radio
presenting five x 2 hour shows every week where he is known as The Geriatric DJ. 

He has many LEONITE listeners 

including one in Australia, one in Egypt and one in The Czech Republic.


It was at that Willen Hospice 24 hour charity disco
that David’s wife, Maureen, came up to the school to tell him blood test results showed their daughter to be suffering chronic renal failure. One week later Rebekah was in Guys Hospital London.

Bruce Abbott was then Leon’s 

Headmaster, he and his wife Jenny were 

a tower of strength to David and his family. Chairman of

Governors Alan Turner and Governor David Taylor, who was

Mayor of Milton Keynes, were particularly supportive.

Colleagues AND students – David Ashford was a head of year in the school – were very kind.

David was known for organising many trips and  extracurricular activities for his students through which Rebekah became well known to the school. One teenager in particular used to look after Beck on school trips. From caring for Rebekah she went on to become a renal nurse.

Rebekah had two failed kidney transplants. It was decided to

use David as a live donor. The board of governors voted to

give David three months paid leave and to employ someone

to take over his duties during his absence.

On the day before the dual operations were due to happen

the transplant surgeon called off the transplant. David took

two days leave then returned to work. On the day of his return he had to take an assembly. The students were all seated in the hall without knowing he had not been admitted to hospital. He remembers, walking to the front of the hall to murmurs of “He’s back. What’s he doing here ?”

Rebekah was back on call for a cadaver donor.

David was in California as part of a school exchange  programme. He drove from Mexico to Los Angeles then flew overnight back to England. He was met at Heathrow by a friend who said: “You are not to worry, Rebekah had a kidney transplant last night.”

David’s family was among the first to be accommodated in  the very first Ronald McDonald House in Britain. While
Rebekah was in Guys Hospital he commuted from Central London to work at Leon School.

David left Leon School a few years later. 

Today around one hundred LEONITES

support the music he plays. He is in

contact with Sir John Leon, 4th Baronet. 

It is a group of LEONITES who run 

David’s music support group: The

Sunshine Smile Crew.

Rebekah had a happy life, worked as a nursery teacher and

was married to Gary. She was known for her cheeky and

infectious smile. To all who knew her she was LITTLE MISS


Rebekah died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday 19th

May 2017 aged 34. David and his wife, Maureen, were

inundated with cards, calls and messages from LEONITES –

120 of them.

There is one LEONITE who, by his own admission, was not a

“good” student at school every Fathers’ Day contacts David

asking to be his father for the day and on Mothers Day’

asking Maureen to be his mother for the day.

When David learned that LEONITE Jimmy Owens was

homeless and rough sleeping in 

Central Milton Keynes he wanted to organise a group of his former students to find

Jimmy and show him love. 

He was told: “Oh didn’t you know  ?  He died.”

When David stared to befriend a 

rough sleeping a young couple

LEONITES solidly supported him. It  

was a call from on LEONITE, who no longer lives in Milton

Keynes but on the South Coast,  which was instrumental in

making it possible for David to rescue his friends from their 


Josh and Jelena now work within David’s music programme.

When a LEONITE reunion was held a year ago it was Josh 

and Jelena who played the music.


Playing music on Bletchley

Bandstand at the Christmas Lights

Switch On, David was approached 

by a LEONITE. She said: “I was a

bitch at school.” David did not

remember her being that way. As

she told David of her children, all 

graduates in responsible 

professional and management 

positions David smiled and said

that no bitch could have achieved that but a LEONITE could and indeed did.

On the first anniversary of Rebekah’s death Sunshine Smile

Day was held. This was organised by LEONITE Rachel. It 

was the same day as Prince Harry and Megan were married.

They sent a message of best wishes to Sunshine Smile Day.

Sunshine Smile Day 2019 is going to be a much bigger

event. It is entirely being organised by LEONITES. An

invitation, a welcome, is here issued to present Leon staff,

parents and students. There are two events ahead of

Sunshine Smile Day and two events on the day itself.

SATURDAY 27th April – 9am to 5pm Bletchley Bandstand

David will be using a traditional vinyl disco twin-deck for a

Rock and Roll Party. People will be handing out sweets, 

balloons and invitations to attend Sunshine Smile Day. 

Those running the event will also be promoting Milton Keynes Winter Night Shelter and Milton Keynes Food Bank.

Everyone is invited to come down and have fun. Leon

Visit David’s website: and click on


11pm SUNDAY 12th May – 9am Monday 12th May

David will be presenting an overnight radio disco party to

promote SUNSHINE SMILE DAY.  Friends are invited to

listen, to text, send Facebook messages or even drop into

the studio and say “HI”. Podcasts covering 2 hour periods of

 the show will be available.

Everyone is invited to come to SUNSHINE SMILE DAY. We welcome anyone who wishes to set up a stall to promote and raise support for their chosen good cause. Personal craft stalls are welcome. There will be food vans, bouncy castles, pony rides and lots of entertainment- we even have a fire eater. The police will be there to arrest anyone who is not smiling.

Anyone who would like a spot to play an instrument or sing is

invited to the stage is welcome.

Leon Students are invited to come and spin some discs, to

grab the microphone and try their hand at being a DJ.

Milton Keynes Irish Centre is hosting SUNSHINE SMILE

DAY. The Irish Centre is run by a LEONITE.

SMILE DISCO will, in part, be a LEONITE reunion but open

to all.

David will be the DJ for the evening with supporting music

from Graham who as a student used to run Denbigh School

Disco !

We are asking people to come along with a tin for the Food

Bank, a coin for the Night Shelter and a big broad SMILE.


So, everyone, support SUNSHINE SMILE DAY, support the

good causes involved and help the LEGEND OF LEON

DISCO live on.

No school anywhere, ever has had a disco quite like LEON


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