Westlake,BrianI walked back from a Committee meeting with a Finnish member. Are you, he asked me, by any chance related to John Westlake, the chap who helped restore the Finnish constitution? I had to admit that I wasn’t, as far as I knew, related but, still, afterwards I googled the John Westlake (1828-1913) in question and was fascinated to read about this one-time influential international lawyer and progressive supporter of women’s suffrage (he was married to a suffragette) and the Christian Socialist Movement (he is considered a founder of the Working Men’s College). He even had a book written about him and his work (by John Fischer Williams, here) and there are three portraits of him in the National Portrait Gallery. Then, this evening, in Rhode-Saint-Genèse, after the concert, I was approached by an old man who asked me ‘Are you, by any chance, ‘related to Brian Westlake?’ Once again, I confessed that I wasn’t, and then he explained to me that Brian Westlake had been an imported English football player in the 1960s. Once again I googled his name and, sure enough, Brian Westlake (picture from Doncaster days) was an established centre forward in the First Division who played for Stoke City, Doncaster Rovers, Halifax Town, Tranmere Rovers and Colchester United before transferring in 1967 to Daring Club Molenbeek, one of very few foreign players to play for the club. The Royal Daring Club Molenbeek – five times winners of the Belgian first division – has long since disappeared. The name is heavily redolent of another era in sport. Westlake is not an unusual surname in Devon and Cornwall and has been steadily spreading out. It was just a curious coincidence that I should indirectly bump into two Westlakes in two days.