Village honours Colin’s memory

MUCH-MISSED villager Colin Harding would often stand keeping a watchful eye on life from his shop.

And now a tree planted in his memory near his home in Wilbarston will ensure he will always be watching over it.

Family, friends and residents gathered in the village on Saturday for the planting on the green opposite the Post Office which Mr Harding ran with his wife Sharon.

The species of tree is a Crabapple, which his family jokingly said was very appropriate.

Mr Harding, 61, was killed in a motorcycle accident near North Kilworth on May 28 last year, when he collided with a tractor.

An inquest in December ruled neither he nor the tractor driver could have done anything to avoid the crash.

He was known as a hub of the community, as he also sat on the parish council, organised a Neighbourhood Watch programme and set up street patrols.

A huge lover of bikes, Mr Harding owned four and often oorganised riding trips away with friends.

Colin’s widow Sharon said: “He would be very proud.

“He used to stand in the shop doorway, so we can stand in the doorway and look at the tree now.

“The whole village and our friends have been so supportive – it makes you proud to live here. We have a fantastic community here and they have shown it all the way through this.”

Wilbarston Parish Council chairman Nick Richards said: “It was a village idea. It is appropriate because my memory of him is that he was always stood outside, keeping an eye on things. This tree will be standing here doing the job he used to do.”

Professional gardener and former village resident Alistair Peak provided the tree.

He said: “It is nice because I lived in the village for seven years and knew Colin, so it was natural for me to do it.”

Other residents also paid tribute.

Keith Walkling said: “He was one of the hubs of the community – we used to call him Arkwright!

“He was just a cheery, happy, smiley character. A good chap all round.”

Richard Trustram Eve added: “He was a very important part of the village and he and Sharon did a lot to make the shop what it is.

“He was a very important part of our lives. This is a fitting tribute.”