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Harold Graham Heywood

1944 - 2023
President of the Kew Guild 2022-23, recipient of the Queens Award and British Empire Medal
Graham and his wife Eira received the British Empire Medal for Voluntary Services, working to improve the lives of families impacted by autism in Bolton.

Elected President of the Kew Guild in 2023, Harold passed away while in post.

From 1961 Harold worked at Bangor University as an improver apprentice in the horticultural department. 

In 1966 Harold applied for the three year diploma course at Kew Gardens and to his great surprise, following a very harrowing interview, succeeded in securing a place. He often would say: “I owe so much to Kew, Kew gave me the opportunities I could only dream of.” He never lost that gratitude all his life; it really meant so much to him. in 1969 he successfully secured his Kew Diploma of which he was enormously proud.

Returning to North Yorkshire, he worked as Technical Assistant in the Parks and Recreation department and in 1972 became Deputy to George Crowder, Chief Officer in charge of Warrington Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries. 

In June 1982 Harold took up the post of Deputy to Geoff Schofield, the Chief Officer of Parks and Recreation at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC). Whilst in post Harold diversified and was in charge of a number of initiatives including the Bolton Show, the Bolton Marathon, The Butterfly World at Queens Park, and the introduction of a small gauge railway rides pulled by shire horses in Moss Bank Park. He was also in charge of the inception of The Water Place, a new leisure facility in the heart of the town centre which was opened by HM The Queen and Prince Philip. Harold took the reins after Geoff Schofield retired, and was acting Chief Officer for two years before taking up a newly created post as Manager for the Halliwell Action Team - a multi-agency information drop in for Bolton MBC.

After leaving horticulture, Harold went on to be Deputy Manager of Age UK and completed an M.Sc in Action Learning and Research. This led on to forming the Bolton Adult Autism Support Group (BAAS) along with his wife Eira, culminating in the prestigious Queens Award and British Empire Medal.

Eira recalls "Harold’s life was a life well lived; he is someone who has made our world a brighter better place. Bolton Adult Autism Support Group is his legacy: he took a great deal of pride and joy in his achievements, which are a living lasting memory and the grateful hearts of all those he helped and supported."