Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

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John Hesketh Martin Richmond-Hardy (11 January 1948 - 05 May 2023)

Martin Richmond-Hardy, 1948-2023.

Martin started work with the GPO (later BT) in Central London in September 1966, joining straight from school as a Student Apprentice. After two weeks learning how to be a Civil Servant, he was sent to Crawley Technical College for six months to learn how to be an engineer.

In autumn 1967 he was sent to Manchester University. In his final summer at University, he was sent to Televerket, the Swedish telephone company, for a four week period, giving him a taste for working in Europe.

In 1971 the GPO started its move from Dollis Hill to Martlesham and Ipswich, and Martin moved first to Trimley and then to Kirton. Martin didn’t stay with BT, instead, amongst other jobs, he became senior engineer at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe) in Belgium.

In his spare time Martin served on the national committee of the UK Microwave Group, serving as newsletter editor of their Scatterpoint publication. In 2012, he was an organiser of the international microwave radio conference, EME2012, in Cambridge.

Locally, he was secretary and newsletter editor of the Suffolk Mac Users Group so, given his extensive experience of editing journals, he was well placed to edit the OASI Newsletter. He was a long-time member of the BT based Martlesham Radio Society, helping them win many microwave contests in the Society’s heyday.

He was a member of the BAA Radio Astronomy Group and, more locally, the local radio astronomy group, based at Area 51¾ at Newbourne, specialising in detection of hydrogen (HI) lines and pulsars.

He was also an active tenor in several Suffolk-based choirs, including the Ipswich Trianon group.

He was well known in the community around Kirton, always helping out where he could. Examples included clearing trees from the village churchyard after the 1987 storm, and helping to serve Sunday lunches to the elderly in the church hall.

Martin will be missed by all his many friends and those who interacted with him, not least new members of OASI who joined at Newbourne, for whom Martin’s friendly face was the first of many such that they met.

Paul Whiting, FRAS