Although he lived local to me, I'm not sure when Dick Hardwick first appeared on my radar. Probably just after SAM35 constituted itself in 1980. He was certainly quite active from the get-go as liason between SAM35 and its parent body regarding the distribution of U S SamSpeaks and in '81 took over the Safety and Site Liason role on behalf of the executive. Meticulous as ever he researched, acquired and supplied the customised binders for filing our ever growing library of Sam35 Speaks and is still doing it today, 27 yrs on.
Distinctively attired in his custom knitted jumper seen in the artwork, he was ubiquitous at all our early venues such as Old Warden, Barkston and Odiham, mainly a sport flyer, not dabbling with the competition side of things but always available to help with timekeeping and other on-field duties. Indeed for a long time he organised and/or judged the Mass Launch competitions for Vintage Wakefields and A-Frames at Old Warden Vintage Day. I believe it was Dick who established the only way to accurately award the Chobham Trophy for Vintage Wakefields (highest after 45 secs) was to repair to the next field, at right angles to the
Flying Faces No 11 Dick Hardwick
drift and observe the elevation from a distance. Two of his sons were active modellers and with his wife, Joyce, they would set up picnic in the car park and I do believe a little wine for casual guests was not beyond their calling. Dick and his son Alan loved and flew their A-Frames often.
Because he was local to me, we shared the same flying field as members of the Henlow MFC. Every Tuesday evening from Spring thro' Autumn, as long as there was sufficient daylight, there we were, regular as clockwork. Access to the RAF facilities was somewhat beaurocratic and we were fortunate to have Dick co-opted onto the club committee along with a couple of others to represent our civilian interests. This was very successful because flying continued for many years until a full size flying school gatecrashed our preserve and pretty much ended all club FF activity at that venue
Another most valuable contribution to our activities was his involvement in Model Exhibitions, particularly the famous Shefford School Events and about the same time getting very involved with SAM35's unforgettable presence at the Wembly M.E. Exhibitions during the '80's. He was indeed a backroom genius on everything mentioned above and our Society is all the stronger for his efforts.