Michael Ward (1936-2022)
Mike Ward was well-known to The Kibworth & District Chronicle team. He supplied us with news of Foxton via the Foxton Folio which he edited for twenty years. We send our condolences to his family along with these extracts from Mike’s funeral eulogy, a reminder of what a great character he was. RO.
Mike, born in Wickham Newcastle Upon Tyne, celebrated his 86th and 61 wonderful years of marriage this year. He grew up in Newcastle, trained as a mechanical engineer and was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 58 years, 45 as a fellow.
At the age of 21, he met his wife, aged 18, at a dance at the old Assembly Rooms in Newcastle.
Aged 23 he joined the merchant navy as a junior engineer and traveled the world. He loved his time in the merchant navy, and had many tales to tell of his time at sea.
Michael Moves to Foxton
After moves to Manchester and Kent, in 1988, the family, now grown in number to four, settled in Foxton.
Mike loved the village and its people, serving on the parish council, editing the Foxton Folio and being a member of the Foxton Society.
Foxton became a second career and it seemed as if Foxton gave a larger meaning to his life, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And perhaps that was the ultimate gift the village gave to him. Villagers spoke about him as being a ‘legend’ and ‘hero’.
Mike will also be remembered in the village for his running. If it wasn’t running out to the A6, it was along the towpath. In his younger years – in his 60s- he’d be partaking in a number of competitive runs.
A fact that people don’t know about his running is that it began in the house! Yes, running in the actual house. When he began running he did not want villagers to see him out of breath or collapsing. The family would be watching News at 10 with Trevor MacDonald and they would hear a patter of feet on the upstairs landing, the kitchen and hallway, with Mike finally appearing in the living room blocking the sight of the TV. What was the tipping point? Well one day his wife did say “Enough!” and the streets became his only running option.
When Mike retired he rekindled his interest in literature and history and studied Latin and classical Greek at the Open University. He was passionate about Roman History and would forever be quoting Roman Emperors in Latin.
Sense of Humour
In January of this year Mike’s health started to rapidly decline. He wasn’t physically able to run any more, but his passion for running lived on so he would tell running stories, such as when running, the oldest member of the club, Mick Morris, said with a smile while overtaking Mike, ‘This run is for young people only”. In the following week, Mike made sure he swiftly overtook him in the club’s weekly practice run. And a rivalry was born.
No bad feelings though as Mike really was a man of joy and laughter.
In evening chats during his illness, he would often tell a joke, and always be positive on life. Even on the night he said, ‘Things aren’t looking too good are they’.
One fact that did come out of the conversations, was that Mike regretted not knowing his dad as he was only ten months old when his father died. Remarkable, as he was such an amazing father.
He was a clever, funny father who inspired his two sons to always do their best.