Tributes to popular Malvern writer

First published in News
Last updated

WELL-known Malvern Wells resident Wilfred Harper, described by a friend as a "writer, engineer, aviator, sailor, cyclist, smallholder, naturalist, stargazer, and generous friend", has died aged 84.

Mr Harper died on Wednesday, January 15, from the delayed effects of an accident that occurred over Christmas, when his bicycle skidded on an icy road.

A friend, Peter Sutton, said: "He enjoyed swapping stories with the many devoted friends that he gathered around him. They and his family will miss his good humour, his unassuming but exact knowledge of a vast array of subjects, and his affection and encouragement."

He was know locally as a volunteer steward for the Autumn in Malvern Festival for over ten years and was a member of The Hanleys' Village Society from its founding in 2003.

A keen cyclist all his adult life, in his 82nd year he won a time-trial with Malvern’s Velo Club Sevale.

Mr Harper was born in 1929 in Walsall, attended Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Evesham, and after becoming fascinated by aviation during the war, joined the drawing office of the Bristol Aeroplane Company as an apprentice.

During his time with the company, he worked on the eight-engined Brabazon, the largest and fastest airliner at the time. However, it never went into production, as it could not compete with more economical rivals.

He moved on to companies providing components, took a degree in engineering in his 20s and worked as a design consultant on a wide variety of projects.

In his forties, he abandoned regular employment in engineering for a quieter existence in Malvern. While continuing to prepare engineering reports, he began writing poetry, radio talks and articles for the regional and national press.

He collected recordings of interviews with local characters, maps, drawings, press cuttings, paintings and other memorabilia, becoming a resource for other writers. He was still planning to help one local writer with a project when he died.

Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.

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