PUBLISHED 20 April 2022
Mike Joined Arnold School in 1993 from Cowley High School – a renowned place for rugby. Mike was a very keen and able sportsman himself playing football, golf, and cricket to a good standard.
Indeed, the sports field, be it rugby or cricket, was where Mike developed his legendary status at Arnold School. His under 14 B XV played with vigour and enjoyment no doubt due to Mike’s rugby (of the 13-a-side variety) league coaching methods. One Saturday afternoon his team took a long journey to Sedbergh where they were victorious. The head of rugby then was dual code British Lion John Bevan and he named him coach of the week; an accolade Mike cherished and would still talk about.
In the summer Mike took cricket teams and earned great wins over the likes of Manchester and Lancaster Grammar Schools. Failing that, his teams would tenaciously play out grinding draws: he wasn’t fond of losing. It would take the finest of cricket archivists to go through his immaculately kept scorebooks to find out if he ever gave one of his batsmen out lbw – maybe there was one who didn’t hand his RE homework in on time.
As an RE teacher, he inspired generations. You may have been the brightest in the class or not, whatever your ability Mike did his best with you. His record of superb examination results was testimony to his caring nature and minute eye for detail. His classroom was famously tidy and spotless and his registers at the start of a lesson were like a sketch out of a comedy show.
It was a badge of honour to have earned your nickname and some former pupils now in their mid-forties are still known by his moniker. Former pupils were always delighted to see ‘Sir’ or ‘Mr Harding’- never ‘Mike’ out and about so they could reminisce over the banter they had shared. Mike was always so proud of his pupils, and I know how much it meant to him – he was delighted they had remembered comedy incidents from nearly 30 years ago.
An all too brief retirement in 2019 followed but he was able to enjoy his 2 dogs, his 2 cars and his 2 golf memberships. A keen follower of Wigan RLFC and Everton FC he loved watching any live sports events.
Mike Harding was a much respected and loved teacher and colleague. He was also a great friend; we will all miss him.
A celebration of Mike Harding's life will be held on Wednesday 11th May 2:00pm at Lytham Crematorium. The service will be led by a former colleague Richard Golding.
Everyone is then warmly invited to Fylde Rugby Club for refreshments and to share further fond memories of Mike.
Preference for donations to PDSA in lieu of flowers please.