Written by Leonard Rea (H/C. 1945-51)
Friday, 22 August 2003

Michael Cardew entered Chichester House in 1949 after a very eventful early life, escaping with his mother and siblings on the last ship to leave Singapore before it fell to the Japanese in 1942. His father, who commanded the island’s shore batteries, was captured.

At the College, he proved to be a good all-round sportsman, excelling in particular at squash, winning the public schools’ Drysdale Cup in 1954. He won his colours in the 1st XI and 1st XV. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery for national service and, together with his great squash rival and long standing friend John Partridge of Malvern, represented the Combined Services at squash. He then went up to Exeter College, Oxford and won blues at squash (an outstanding captain) and fives.

On going down, he qualified as a chartered accountant. After a spell with Queen magazine, he joined Gulf Oil for a period of 10 years before heading up a city public cleansing department in Saudi Arabia. He then joined the Irving Parachute Company as European Finance Director. This last experience gave him the necessary technical knowledge to setup a small industrial harness company in the grounds of his lovely home, in the shadow of Walmer Castle, in semi-retirement.

Michael remained very keen on sport throughout his life. He was a member of Vincents Club in Oxford, a prominent member of the Jesters Squash Club for whom he arranged overseas tours, and the MCC. When forced to five up squash, he became a passionate real tennis player, playing regularly for the OBs at Petworth. With Paul Vine, his doubles partner, he won a veterans tournament in Australia. He organised very enjoyable pre-Halford Hewitt Golf Cup dinners near his home in Kent.

He was a very loyal supporter of the College and all its activities, serving as Treasurer of the OBs and, for many years, a Scholarship Fund Trustee.

He died very suddenly and unexpectedly, preparing to visit the Crimean battlefields, where members of the Cardew family had fought, in search of information before compiling a family history.

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