Remembering former JP and Harpenden Lion
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 December 2016
Harpenden Lions stalwart and former JP, Neville Osmond, has died aged 84.
He was born in St Albans where his father Cuthbert was organist at the cathedral but when he was five Cuthbert went to Salisbury to convalesce from overwork and died there. His wife Hilda decided that she and her two sons, Neville and Stephen, should remain in Salisbury where she had family and friends and they lived in the city until Hilda’s death in 1952.
Neville was educated at Christ’s Hospital in Horsham and spent his National Service in Hong Kong with the Royal Artillery. Having been awarded an Exhibition to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1953, he studied economics.
He met his first wife, Sue Bedford, at university and the couple had three children, Kate, Sally (who died in 1969) and Tim. Sue died from cancer in 1986 and both she and Sally are buried at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden.
In 1957, Neville began his working life in the colonial service, assigned to the Tanganyikan Government as a district officer. The family returned to England in 1960, where Neville joined Clarks Shoes, initially to manage their production planning at the Plymouth factory, then transferring to the firm’s head office in Street, Somerset to become personnel manager.
The family moved to Harpenden in 1967 while Neville worked in publishing and management consultancy in London.
In 1975, he became self-employed as a management, organisation & personnel consultant and for five years in the early 1990s he was semi-retired but revived his business in order to marry his second wife Antje Sommer whom he met through the Dorothy L Sayers Society.
Neville was a Justice of the Peace on the St Albans bench as well as being an active member of the Harpenden Lions Club, the Baconian Club of St Albans, and Christ’s Hospital’s club committee, becoming its Herts/Beds branch chairman. He also helped re-organise Victim Support in Hertfordshire between 1993 and 1995.
Among his many fund-raising activities, his most notable work was with the Harpenden Lions Club Life Skills Programme, providing educational materials for schools to teach children the skills needed to manage their lives and become responsible members of society.
He was looking forward to seeing the total raised reach £250,000 in the coming year.
Neville was equally active on behalf of Christ’s Hospital and was recently instrumental in setting up the Blue Fund, a new initiative to provide for the pupils least able to afford the fees
The funeral was held at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden on Wednesday, December 14.