Phillip N Harding
DescriptionBorn in the district of Eton in Windsor Phil and his brother Richard (1926-1994) were the sons of councillor and Justice of the Peace, Alfred Noel Harding, and his wife Emily Trypmen née Perkes. Phil was educated at Eton Wick School and later Windsor Grammar School for Boys.
Phil met Mavis Margaret Wadey (b. 1936) in 1957, from the Isle of Wight, whom he married two years later. They had two sons, Graham Philip (b. 1962) and David James (b. 1966).
After working in Slough for ten years he started work with Polysius of Ascot in 1957 as administration assistant. During the next 35 years he worked his way up to company secretary. The Harding family moved to Binfield Road in Wokingham in 1970 and Philip retired in 1992. Mavis was his Mayoress during his terms as Mayor and it was during the second term that his cancer was first diagnosed. Deputy Mayor Danny Miller took over some of his engagements, but despite his illness, Phil took part in some 200 engagements.
He attended his last council meeting on December 13th 2005. At the end of his second Mayoral term he presented the town council with a plinth for the bust of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, presented by the Mayor of Viry-Chatillon in May 1998.
In addition to his civic duties Phil served on the Board of Governors for Palmer Church of England Junior School for sixteen years and as an advisor for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for eleven years. One of his fortés was finance and he enjoyed checking bank statements and financial records. He was regarded by his colleagues as a guiding light, being one of the few who could explain the intricasies of local government financial procedure. Without his expertise it was said that the council would have been ill-advised.
A born traveller, one of Phil’s favourite quotations was one of Mohammed Ali’s who once compared life to being a journey. He was taken to hospital on January 18th 2006 for an emergency operation and died a few days later on January 25th. His funeral service took place on February 6th at Rose Street Methodist Church after which he was cremated.
Harding Place was named in his memory.
Phil was a quiet, gentle man who is remembered by his friends and colleagues for his loyalty and dependability. He was a popular councillor and was regarded as one of those rare people who genuinely gave much of his time and efforts for the good of the people of Wokingham. It is believed that this desire to serve the town was due to the influence of his father. After Philip retired and when he was on the council he worked as a volunteer at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and was chairman of Governors at Palmer School.
SourceFormer Town Mayors of Wokingham from 1980 - 2015, by J Bell.
“Phillip N Harding,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed January 28, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0008.