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News > In Memory Of > In Memory of Mike Harding ON 1958-1965

In Memory of Mike Harding ON 1958-1965

We were saddened to hear of the death of ON Mike Harding, who passed away in September 2020 after a short illness, bravely born.

Mike and his two brothers attended Adams and their father and mother also taught at the school, so Adams was a very big part of Mike’s childhood. Our school records show that Mike’s father organised the first foreign school trip in 1949, taking 49 boys to Switzerland and that he also played a key part in establishing the CCF at Adams in 1955. We are very grateful to Mike’s brother Richard for taking the time to share the following witth us in memory of Mike. Our deepest sympathy to all of Mike’s family and friends on their loss.

Mike was the eldest of three brothers who all attended Adams – with both our parents on the teaching staff (father Geography, and mother Maths) the whole family was part of the Adams community. Sadly, Mike passed away at the QEH in Birmingham in September 2020 after a short illness; not Covid but the pandemic did mean that only his two sons, Chris and Tim and his long time partner Jenni could be with him during his final weeks. Mike and Jenni were married in the hospital just a few days before he died.

Mike excelled at sports and represented the school at cross country and hockey. He played the oboe in the school orchestra and in the County Youth Orchestra. He also acted in many school plays and one of my earlier memories was of him playing Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His year had some gifted thespians and he was one of several who auditioned for the National Youth Theatre.

Mike went up to Bristol and gained a 2:1 in Physics after which he joined ICL (as it was then) as a graduate trainee. Mike achieved that now increasingly rare feat of enjoying a successful career in the same firm right through to retirement; Mike once joked with me that he thought he had continued through the various takeovers and reorganisations with Fujitsu because he was probably one of the few people “who knew where everything was.” Through this period Mike was married to Carolyn and they raised two sons, Chris and Tim, although Mike and Carolyn were to separate once the boys went off to university.

Retirement gave Mike back the time to enjoy his passions for music and drama. Plus running marathons and half marathons. Mike ran several London marathons, and it became an annual fixture for him to stay overnight with us as we lived a short walk from the start, and also to fuel up with pasta the night before!

By this time Mike had met Jenni and they had initially bought a holiday home in Wales near Hay on Wye, but later moved nearby to completely rebuild another house making it an energy efficient modern home – and one with fantastic views across the Wye valley. Mike and Jenni had shared passions for music and drama. Mike resumed singing and joined the Brecon Singers, later becoming their Chair, and also the Hay Community Choir.

It was at Glasbury, very near where Mike and Jenni lived, that Mike became involved in Glasbury Arts and the Glasbury Arts Harp Summer School which had emerged out of a visit by a famous harpist to Glasbury in 2010. Mike was asked by the Glasbury Arts Chairman to use his considerable project management skills to help develop the harp summer school project which has now become a significant part of the Welsh Harp calendar.

Mike also found time for Savoy Opera, having been a member, and a principal singer, of the Savoyards, Gilbert and Sullivan Society in Birmingham and later the Hereford Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Mike was also a member of the Wye Players theatrical group and regularly took lead roles in their productions.

Although his life was cut short (relatively) by a cruel illness, Mike managed to fit in so much and he was very much a completer/finisher as is demonstrated by his many successes both throughout his career and in retirement. His school year managed to stay close and there were many reunions in Newport. Indeed, there was one on Zoom only a short while before Mike became unwell. One of his contemporaries commented, “Mike was such a cheerful force at school and didn’t miss any of the gatherings we’ve organised over the years. Always interested in other people, invariably smiling, keen on amateur dramatics, and obviously keen to get on with the life he was forging on the Welsh borders. He appeared full of his usual healthful, cheerful vim and vigour”.

Richard Harding, ON 1961-1968

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