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ANNOUNCEMENTS > Obituaries > Obituary of Michael Bourner (1941-2020)

Obituary of Michael Bourner (1941-2020)

Ken Gunn pays tribute to OJ Mike Bourner who attended Judd 1952-1958

Michael (Mike) R. Bourner (1941-2020)

Mike, who was one of the youngest of the Judd '52 year boys, died on 17 December 2020 in his home town of Sowerby (Nr. Thirsk) in Yorkshire after a difficult year following the death of his wife Christine in March.

Mike was the eldest of four children, he had a brother Chris, and two sisters Rosemary & Brenda who lived in Hayesden Lane (off Brook Street).

Mike (Gamma) attended Judd from 1952 to 58 and married Christine Hawkins in 1963.  Her father, Frank Hawkins, also an OJ was one of the founder members of the OJRFC in 1928.

Mike and Christine emigrated to Pietermaritzberg, South Africa to take up a management position with Meadow Feeds and where his sons Robert & Andrew were born.

Mike had a successful life in RSA and indulged his hobbies of game hunting & fishing.

I was working in Vereeniging at that time for a subsidiary of the Anglo American Group and arranged a meet with Mike & family via a chance article seen in the OJ News.  We had many happy family holidays together around RSA reminiscing on our schooldays at Judd in the 50's.

Mike and family returned to the UK in 1979 to take up a position with Nitrovit Feeds in Thirsk .

He and Christine developed initially a part time operation importing pine furniture units from Christine's brother (an OS) who had a factory in Natal, into a large successful business of its own. Yorkshire Pine employed ~100 people and had a turnover of c.£1m per year but sadly went out of business in the mid 80's recession.

This created the opportunity for Mike to develop one of his other skills of property & car renovation. Many of the properties were derelict and the family had to live in a caravan during the process. Mike was very successful at this property development which enabled him to enjoy his other hobby of vintage car renovation. The Jaguar XK 150 & MGB cars he renovated achieved ‘concourse condition' which were exhibited at many shows.

Mike also used his communication skills acquired at Judd to become an International Toastmaster which  led him to travel widely around the world and the UK. In 1977 he gained 2nd place in an International Toastmaster's event for his presentation.

His lifelong friendship with Dave Haines (OJ) from their days in the 1st Tonbridge Scouts resulted in him setting up a motor cruise hire business in Majorca where the family had a holiday home. Dave had developed a similar successful business in Thailand where he still lives.

Mike always kept in touch with his Judd School friends and attended all 8 Judd '52 Year Reunions over the years. The last being in 2019 when he again stated that he owed his successful  and varied life to the 'tools' he was given at Judd in the '50's.

It is sad that Mike will miss our next '52 year  Reunion later this year (Pandemic permitting)  when, hopefully, we shall all have reached 80 years!

Ken Gunn (52-58)

Please feel free to write any comments to the family below or your memories of Mike and these photos in an album (just login to access both) 

If you would like to send in a tribute/obituary to an OJ or former member of staff so that we can remember them on these OJ Community pages - (can be from any era and I can back-date it) please email them to Lucy Tipler at:


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