The Bedales school community was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Kadian Harding in a cycling accident in the summer of 2012. A memorial celebration was held at the school in the following October - it is hard to capture the profound emotion Kadian's classmates expressed through their stunning music and dance performances.

Keith Budge, then Head of Bedales Schools said: “After just one year at the school, Kadian was already well known as an impressive contributor to school life, demonstrating inquisitiveness and an enthusiasm for learning. Kadian was a delightful young man with great potential: he will be hugely missed."

In Autumn 2012, five Bedales students decided to build an observatory to honour the memory of their friend and fellow student. 

"Kadian's friendship was infinite just like the universe," said Naveed Khalessi, one of the friends who spearheaded the project. "We often see mundane or boring memorials, so we thought why don't we do what Kadian would do and 'Think Different'? This eventually led us to the conclusion that we wanted to make the Kadian Observatory."

The Observatory formed part of the students' Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) Outdoor Work coursework. Completed in April 2014, by the original group of five students with the help of a few of their friends, and with the support of Peter Coates (then Head of Outdoor Work), the Kadian Observatory is circular in structure, approximately ten feet in diameter, with a concrete floor, red brick walls, a white retractable dome and a door carved from a hazel tree that grew on the school estate. The building stands next to the pavilion on the Memorial Pitch.

View photos of the construction of the Kadian Observatory

Inside the Kadian Observatory stands a powerful Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which was purchased from a local astronomy club - with a 12 inch aperture lens, capable of exploring more than 50,000 celestial objects and providing enough light for close-ups of the Rings of Saturn. 

To see how the observatory was planned and built, overcoming many obstacles along the way, watch a fascinating video which was made by the students:

On the theme of technology, Kadian had an obsession with Apple products and produced a number of associated podcasts and videos, available on iTunes (read more here).

The Kadian Observatory was officially opened during a naming ceremony on Parents’ Day, 28 June 2014. It has since been used by students and teachers, particularly as part of the Activities' and Sixth Form Enrichment programmes.

The Kadian Observatory Fund

The Kadian Observatory Fund is an endowment that supports the following activities:

  • The initial capital expenditure in creating the Kadian Observatory.
  • An annual Kadian Harding Science and Technology Prize that is awarded to one or two students in Bedales Block 3 (ages 13-14) who have shown outstanding scientific inquiry.
  • An annual Kadian Lecture - the inaugural lecture was given by Professor Gareth Wynn-Williams on 8 November 2016. Read more and view the lecture here. Dr Peter Edwards delivered the second lecture on 7 November 2017: Gravity, Gas and stardust

With thanks to all donors, the Fund has already received £23,000, including a generous donation of £10,000 from Kadian’s grandparents, Frank and Belinda Harding, and additional support from the Bedales Parents' Association.

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Donate to the Kadian Observatory Fund

If you would like to make a donation to the Kadian Observatory Fund, here are two easy ways:

  1. Please send a cheque payable to Bedales School, along with a note ‘Kadian Observatory Fund’ to: Bedales School, Church Road, Steep, Hampshire, GU32 2DG
  2. Please send a BACS payment along with a memo ‘Kadian Observatory Fund’ to:

Bedales School
Natwest Bank
Sort code: 601626
Account number: 66414059
Swift Code: NWBKGB2L
IBAN Code: GB16NWBK60162666414059

Bedales School is a Registered Charity (charity number: 307332) and therefore eligible for Gift Aid.

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