A DECORATOR working at Winchester College had quite a shock when he scraped back wallpaper to find a signature he left in the same spot 31 years ago.

Ian Mackinnon, 66, of Rossington Avenue, Bitterne, was called in at the last minute to work at the college, which he had previously decorated in the 1980s.

He said: “I’ve been a decorator for 40-odd years. I was there from ’82 to ’91 and we used to do all the houses and all the boy’s dorms. I really enjoyed working at the college because you see some sights there – lovely.”

He was stripping wallpaper on his old stomping ground recently when, in a chance encounter, he discovered a message from himself: ’Papered by Ian Mackinnon, 29th of November 1983.’

He said: “I didn’t realise it until my boss said ‘what’s that on the wall?’ I scraped it further and I realised it was me. I just couldn’t believe it. It was a complete shock.

“I always leave my mark for the future,” he added. “When I was a young lad I used to see marks on the walls and I thought that was a good idea.”

“Sometimes these buildings don’t get redecorated for 20 or 30 years, so you can see that. I’ve seen on some walls ‘1911’ or ‘1921’.”

Ian has now papered over the old signature, but he couldn’t resist leaving his mark again for future painters to find.

“First it said ‘by Ian Mackinnon, 29th of November 1983’,” he said. “Now it says ‘and again, 16th of August 2014.’”