Michael came to Chigwell School, Essex to teach classics in 1962. Additionally he became the assistant Scoutmaster and also took on the responsibility for coaching the junior cross-country team. Together with Michael’s love of walking in the hills it was natural therefore that his interest would be aroused on hearing from a member of Southern Navigators about the new sport of orienteering. In 1965 he became a member of Dysart Dashers and started competing. At the first opportunity at the end of the cross-country season in 1966 he introduced the activity into the games options at the school.
He quickly established and coached a small group of pupils and, in the school minibus, drove many miles to events on a Sunday. Often this took all day, time Michael willingly gave up, but always with the deadline of being able to attend Evensong, which was also very important to him. From these beginnings the Chigwell Club established itself. Michael organised and planned its first events, made its equipment, drew its first maps, organised the first championships, the first come-and-try-it events, gave the club its ‘open’ status and became its first chairman and, of great benefit to the club, instigated evening classes at the Loughton Evening Institute. He became a controller for the South East and planned two major regional championships.
To all of these activities he brought his own standards and style. He had high expectations but understood human failings and would sometimes show the sheer frustration, even with himself, when things were not quite right. His enthusiasm and interests were infectious to those around him and his gentle art of persuasion meant that many achieved much more than they thought they were capable of. His innovation and foresight seemed boundless and, together with his many other activities, they reflected his sound practical approach and principles. In recognition of his considerable contribution to the Club he had been awarded life membership (CompassSport vol. 21/4).
Michael will be sorely missed by fellow orienteers.
Chairman of Chigwell & Epping Forest Orienteering Club (CHIG)