The late Charlie Harding


Village stalwart Charlie Harding died in hospital on Wednesday, February 12, aged 93 years.

He was born in Park Lane, Blunham, in 1921, the family moving to the High Street in 1924.

Charlie was the second child in the family, having an elder sister and younger twin brother and sister.

Charlie joined HM Forces in May 1941. He sailed for the Far East on December 8, 1941 – the day Japan bombed

Pearl Harbour. All Allied troops were taken as prisoners of war on March 8, 1942 in Java and Charlie spent the next three and a half years in prison camps in Java and Japan, arriving home safely on November 19, 1945.

He volunteered willingly for so many organisations in the village. From 1946 to 1963 he was Secretary of Blunham Men’s Club (now the thatched part of John Donne Lower School) and, with the help of the late Ted Norman, organised the running of the social club six nights a week.

In 1946 he was co-opted onto the committee of the Royal British Legion, serving for many years until it was disbanded in 1992. During this time he acted as treasurer, Poppy Day organiser, and for its last 20 years was the standard bearer.

In 1946 he was also co-opted onto the committee of the parish hall and he remained an active member until last year.

For many years he, together with his sister, Daphne, organised bingo sessions in the village hall on Monday and Saturday evenings.

Charlie was elected to the parish council in 1955, serving 25 years as chairman, but he decided to stand down at the elections in 1995.

From 1951-53 he was the secretary of Blunham’s week long celebrations for the Silver Jubilee and Coronation and, in 1977, was chairman of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.

He was a painter and decorator until retirement. He has been described as “a lovely man who was greatly admired and respected in Blunham, the village he loved and where he did so much for the community.”

He is survived by his younger sister, his niece and family.

The funeral takes place at Blunham Church next Tuesday (February 25) at noon.