'A real gentleman respected by so many': Service held to remember David Hando
THE family and friends of David Hando BEM gathered in Newport to pay tribute to “a real gentleman respected by so many”.
Mr Hando – who is widely known as the man who saved Newport County AFC – died last month aged 84.
On Tuesday, Mr Hando’s family and friends, as well as representatives from the club, the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, and political figures, gathered at St Julian’s Methodist Church for a service of thanksgiving.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that without David Hando there would be no Newport County AFC,” said BBC journalist Rob Phillips.
Mr Hando was “the driving force” behind the club’s return to the Football League.
“David took on the might of authorities and football governors with aplomb, with dignity, and lucidly set out an argument in an extremely persuasive manner. He also did it with this disarming grin.
“He had the ultimate satisfaction when in 2013 the late Justin Edinburgh’s side achieved promotion to the Football League.
“Of all the black and amber smiles that day, none was wider than that sported by David Hando. ‘Mission accomplished’ he said.”
Mr Hando’s daughter-in-law Julie read out a tribute by her son Oliver.
“My grandad was a Newport legend, for football and the community,” said Mr Hando.
“He was also a legend to me. He taught me to ride a bike, kick a ball, and play snooker. He taught me respect and appreciation of classical music, and to be proud of my home town, and its football team.
“He set an example of how to be a good old fashioned hard-working gentleman.
“I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have had David Hando as my grandad.”
Mr Hando met his wife Mary at Sunday school, and they married after his return from the London School of Economics.
The couple had three sons – Steven, Laurence, and Julian – and six grandchildren.
Mr Hando’s teaching career began in Caerleon, and led him and his family as far as Uganda. After Julian was born, the family returned to Newport. He then taught in several schools around Newport and Cardiff, before retiring as deputy headteacher at Radyr Comprehensive School.
Through his work with the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, Mr Hando travelled as far as Buenos Aires and Bilbao.
“David was involved from the very first meeting of the friends in 1998 and he made a massive contribution to our cause for over 25 years,” said Jeff Grosvenor, membership secretary of the Friends.
“A few months ago, even though he had been very poorly, David was very determined to at the bridge for the sod cutting ceremony at the site of the new visitor centre.
“We were all extremely pleased David was able to be there, and we are all very sad he will not be there to see the visitor centre and the refurbished bridge.”
Mr Hando was a Newport councillor, representing the Liberal Democrats, and an author.
He was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2016 for services to football and the community.