Howard D Atkinson (OH 1978-1980)
It is with great sadness that the Old Herefordians’ Club learned of the death from cancer of Howard David Atkinson OH, aged 50, on 22 November 2011. Our sincere sympathy to his brother Richard Atkinson OH and Howard’s family.

Howard was born on 19 Sept 1961, in Worcester. Schooling, most notably in St Albans and at Hereford Cathedral School, was where Howard’s ability as a rugby player came to the fore. Playing, from the age of 14, for the county adult side and trialling for England U21s, Howard was thwarted only by an unintentional injury, caused by his former school-mate, the subsequently international player, Paul Thorburn. It was at Hereford where Howard met his life-long friend James Hawkins.

Howard studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Manchester University then started his career as a surveyor with the Ordnance Survey in South Wales. It was through the Ordnance Survey that Howard met his future wife Helen. The family moved to Ross on Wye where, still with the Ordnance Survey, Howard moved into the world of marketing and computer mapping; moving to Alderbury, Salisbury, in 2000, he transferred to the Ordnance Survey Head Office where Howard and his work ethic were held in very high regard. Howard worked for the Ordnance Survey for 23 years and was responsible at the end for leading the Ordnance Survey’s provision to the whole of Central Government. The Director General of the Ordnance Survey wrote of the high regard in which Howard was held and notified his wife Helen that their flag would be flown at half-mast on the day of his funeral. In 2006 Howard was taken on by ESRI Limited, a computer-mapping company keen to benefit from Howards’ expertise, as head of sales to local government. Howard was extremely well-liked by his team at ESRI and his Managing Director described Howard as a delightful man, always cheerful, always professional and extremely hard working. Howard was known for his integrity, patience, energy and good fun as well as for his fierce pride in his work, but also as a ‘peacemaker’, well known for keeping the team working together for the greater good.

Howard spent twenty years with various Scout groups and enjoyed outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, hiking and camping as well as being a shooting instructor. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of Merit for his excellent service to Scouting.

Howard leaves his wife Helen, two daughters and a son.

Extracts taken from a Eulogy written by Richard John Atkinson OH: “Howard’s primary school teacher, Mrs Jauncey, remembered Howard as a lovely, ‘little’ boy; possibly the only person now who would think of Howard as ‘little’. Our father remembers mighty Howard, at 12 years, on the rugby pitch, picking up the opposition’s 2nd row, one of them under each arm!

For myself, I think of Howard’s incredible tolerance and forbearance as he always ceded ground to a frustrating little brother; most particularly when I shot him in the thigh with an air rifle, and I remember him lifting the school bully, who had rounded on me, clean off his feet and hanging him on a coat peg. Mostly of course as a gentle, caring and dedicated giant, as we all care to remember Howard...

“Howard will be remembered for his values; his respectful nature, his honesty and team-work, his selflessness to provide for his family and to give to others, and his sense of hearty, healthy fun through honourable endeavour. These characteristics define Howard for the man and properly great citizen that he was.”
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