Dr Patrick Harding, who was Head of Plant Sciences in the Department of Adult Education at the University of Sheffield for many years, died on 14th September after a period of ill health. Patrick was well known to a number of members of the Florilegium Society (Sheffield) as a botany tutor on the Botanical Illustration programme, and also for the many plant and fungi related courses he taught at the University. Patrick was a member of the Florilegium Society Selection Panel in 2015.
He taught on residential courses across the country including courses at Madingley Hall, Cambridge, Urchfont College, Wiltshire and Losehill Hall Derbyshire. With Valerie Oxley he organized study tours to the Kingcombe Centre, Dorset, Kindrogan Field Studies Centre, Scotland, La Palma in the Canaries, and Menton in France. His evening classes in Sheffield and beyond are legendary and he introduced a large number of people to the delights of fungi, the botany of flowers, trees and shrubs and other related subjects. More recently he ran a series of courses on the Plant Hunters. He often introduced poetry into his presentations and his field visits were well prepared, informative and fun. He became something of a TV personality and he travelled the country giving talks on the Natural History of Christmas often dressing up as Father Christmas in a green robe to deliver the talk.
During the last twenty years he wrote a number of books including the Wild Flowers of the Peak District in collaboration with Valerie Oxley. The book was illustrated by students on the botanical illustration courses at the University. For some years he worked with Dr Tony Lyon of the University of Sheffield presenting weekend courses on Identifying Fungi—their Saturday night "fry-up" was eagerly looked forward to, and they went on to write a book together on edible fungi published by Collins.
On two occasions Patrick led field meetings for IAPI, at Millers Dale, in the heart of the Peak District. Those who were privileged to be there will remember his inexhaustible fund of knowledge on plants, and many other matters, which he was delighted to share with others.
Patrick will be sadly missed and our condolences go to his wife Jean, his son Martin and daughter, Bryony.