Remembering 'Mr Harpenden' - the indomitable Michael Weaver
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been paid to a stalwart of the local business community, much-loved entrepreneur, politician and raconteur.
Michael Weaver was best known as the owner of C & A Builders Merchants sited at 29 High Street, Harpenden, and later at Kingston House, 6 High Street, a hardware shop which drew custom from well beyond the immediate township.
It was Michael who installed the very distinctive clock which still stands proudly on the front of the building.
“There had often been talk of a town clock and as owner of the C&A business I decided to install a three way facing clock," he told the Herts Ad in 2012.
First moving to Harpenden in 1968 he immediately became involved with the local community, including various charities and business groups.
Some of his achievements include running the London Marathon in 1982, 1983 and 1985, competing in London to Brighton bike rides, and with the help of his Spurs football hero the late Jimmy Greaves he and son Robert climbed Kilimanjaro for the charity Whizz-Kidz.
He started penning his autobiographical book 'It's Not Over Until It's Over' while lying in bed in the Luton and Dunstable Hospital for several weeks, proceeds from which were recently presented to Keech Hospice.
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He said at the time: "Right from day one I made it clear there was no desire to make any money out of this, I just wanted to describe all the ups and downs in my life, my love for Harpenden, running my old shop C&A , becoming a local councillor and particularly getting across the enjoyment of that life with my family. It's all been so worthwhile.”
Some of the organisations he was involved with include St Albans and District Chamber of Commerce (President 1979), Harpenden Rotary Club, Harpenden First, as a governor and director of St Hilda's School, and as a local councillor, including a stint as Harpenden Mayor in 2011.
His theme for the year was Working Together and he stressed that it would listen to what people wanted. “It is Harpenden first above all else,” he said.
He added: “I treat the office of Town Mayor as the greatest honour that could be bestowed on me.”
Michael was well remembered for installing the Diamond Jubilee Arch in Thomsons Close without final planning permission, and felt passionately about preserving Harpenden High Street and successfully campaigned on behalf of retailers against pedestrianising Lower High Street.
He was a regular contributor to the letters pages of the Herts Advertiser, waxing lyrical on whatever matters of local interest incited his passion.
He maintained his interest in local businesses after his retirement and continued to offer advice at St Albans Enterprise Agency (STANTA) until very recently.
Friend Robert Hill said: "He was a big man with a big heart who gave of himself so generously to many people and organisations and achieved so much."
Ginny Cooper, director of operations at STANTA, said: "Michael’s relentless cheerfulness, good heart and fighting spirit was an inspiration to many in St Albans Chamber of Commerce and his clients at STANTA.
"He particularly enjoyed the annual Chamber’s St George’s Day lunch, in which he participated with great gusto and will be remembered for using his sticks as a pretend arrow whilst singing Jerusalem!
"The business community in St Albans and Harpenden has lost a truly wonderful gentleman."
St Albans Chamber of Commerce added: "Michael has been such a great friend, participant and enthusiast, not just for the Chamber but also STANTA and other organisations in the district. He was renowned for his championing of local people and local business, especially in Harpenden, with fairness and care. We will all miss him hugely."
He leaves his wife Ros, children Clare, Robert, Sophie and Victoria, and eight grand-children.
Michael C Weaver July 1939-June 2022.