Harpenden community champion passes away

Mark Sandford presenting bench to Harpenden on behalf of Lions

Mark Sandford presenting bench to Harpenden on behalf of Lions - Credit: Archant

Community champion and charity fundraiser Mark Handford who had been battling leukaemia for 16 years died last week surrounded by his family.

Mark, 75, who had recently moved from Harpenden to Ashby de la Zouch with his wife Mary to be near their family, died in the Macmillan Hospice at Derby Hospital.

For over 50 years he was actively involved with the community in Harpenden and in raising funds for charity. He sat on the St Albans Bench for 39 years from 1971 to 2010.

Mark was variously chairman and treasurer of the Company of Ten amateur theatre company in St Albans for many years and was also a member of Harpenden Lions Club for 30 years - taking on the role of president twice.

As president in 2003, he was instrumental in donating one of the benches outside Pizza Express to the town.

Mark was also chairman of the Cravells Area Residents Association for many years and was active in the church, notably St Nicholas in Harpenden.

He leaves his widow Mary and four children - two sons and two daughters.

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A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Helen’s Church, Ashby de la Zouch at 2pm next Friday, December 11.

In lieu of flowers, individual donations are invited to the Nightingale Macmillan Unit where Mark spent his last days.

Cheques need to be made payable to Derby Hospitals Charity (NMU 14005) and sent direct to the funeral directors, A E Grice, 4 Derby Road, Ashby de la Zouch LE65 2HE for the attention of Mr Gerard Egan.