Recently a great friend of mine, Mike Fowler, died and like most Rotarians he had a keen sense of community and his place within it; certainly he played his part in this community.
Mike’s chief academic interests were law and history. He had a deep interest in the Celtic, pre-Roman period, especially that relating to Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni, and the East Anglian resistance to Rome.
After completing his initial studies at Cardiff, Mike took his undergraduate degree in Law at Aberystwyth followed by the professional examinations of the Law Society. Some years later he joined Winters, an established Huntingdon law practice, later becoming its senior partner.
As a solicitor he enjoyed litigation as much as the necessary business of practice management and this enabled him to collect, embellish and repeat a collection of telling wonderful stories about his two legal heroes: F.E. Smith, later Lord Birkenhead, and George Carmen, QC. It is undoubtedly correct to say that his ability at after-dinner speaking owed much to this apprenticeship acquired anecdotally.
Mike was a keen sportsman, with cricket, lawn tennis and golf as his main interests and he played all three to a high amateur standard. Sport enabled him to combine his sense of community with his professional experience. He served on the committee of the Huntingdon Olympic Gymnasium, helping that institution to gain a solid and successful start.
However, golf became his major sporting field in later life, and he served with other business figures in Huntingdon to develop the Brampton Golf Club. Retirement from legal practice saw Mike became co-owner of Sports and Fashion, a well known retail establishment in the centre of Huntingdon.
His final, and hopefully lasting contribution to us all, was his creation of the Memory Café for the Rotary Club of Huntingdon, which was a meeting place for people with any form of dementia. He saw the great need for it, pursuing its formation with energy and skill. If nothing else were to be remembered, the leadership and motivation displayed in creating his team for that project would suffice to ensure his place on the long list of Rotary achievements in Huntingdon.
Mike’s death is not the end of a friendship; friendship is a fulfilling emotion, it forces your claim on the future. Look forward optimistically and make friends on the way was his credo and he would wish it to be yours.