Memorial Celebration of the life of Kadian Harding

Posted on 19th October 2012

Memorial Celebration of the life of Kadian Harding

Bedales Olivier Theatre
Sunday 14 October 2012
By Nick Gleed, Director of Music, Bedales

This was, most truly, a monumental occasion of the greatest sorrow as well as the greatest beauty, constructed with meticulous care by his parents and presented to a packed theatre of over 300 people.  There was personal involvement by 60 of Kadian's Bedalian school friends and teachers, who were involved in every aspect of the Celebration – from decorating the theatre to performing Kadian’s favourite songs. The Theatre was adorned with branches from trees on the Bedales estate, upon which hung coloured tags with handwritten notes from students to their friend Kadian.
The Celebration, expertly coordinated by Joanne Greenwood, opened with a performance of Ye now have Sorrows from A German Requiem by Brahms, the text of which moves from an expression of grief to words of comfort; an emotional journey which shaped our plans for the occasion.  Kadian had, himself, performed this work with the school choir in London last March. 
Film footage and photographs of Kadian, together with soundtracks from some of his favourite songs, created a collage of audio-visual material which not only accompanied some lovely choreography but also, and with powerful immediacy, positioned the figure of Kadian and his endearing personality tangibly at the heart of this outpouring of love and loss.
Kadian’s parents, Thomas and Debora, requested Count on Me (performed by Delilah Montagu, Block 4), I love my Mac for his Apple obsession, and songs by his favourite band Coldplay. Their requests were translated into very moving choreography by the students who worked with Claire Gammon (Teacher i/c Dance) over three rehearsals to perfect the performance. Coldplay’s Paradisewas choreographed by Block 4 Dance students. A group of Kadian's friends made a film using photos, film clips, interviews and songs showing his spirit and their friendships. The group had worked on this with teachers Graham Banks and Al McConville since the beginning of term. Sam Harding also made a unique and poignant film entitled My Brother Kadian.
Diary entries, penned by Kadian’s parents in the weeks following his death, were read by Kadian’s cousin James and James’ wife Kate. A more inspiring insight into the daily life of a happy family and the expression of devastating parental grief when a son dies can, surely, never have been written. Keith Budge, Headmaster Bedales Schools, spoke with great humour and compassion with references from school reports and teacher comments. The students involved were so giving, thoughtful and tuned into the event. Their need to help and be involved in some way were particularly moving. Some students had only known Kadian for a short amount of time and wanted to help because he had touched their lives. It was a Bedalian Whole School Effort to make Kadian’s memorial incredibly special for the Harding family.
The Celebration moved towards a conclusion with Kadian’s singing teacher, Paddy Burrowes (Old Bedalian) joining the choir in a performance of Intende Voci Orationis Meae by Schubert. Composed in the final months of Schubert’s own short life, the music is a manifestation of that creative gift – for melody and song – which is inherent in us all and which, as Schubert said, should “brighten the world”.  
Kadian brightened our world with his joie de vivre and ability to make friends with everyone. The strength of his particular genius was given final expression in a performance of the song, composed by Kadian’s sister Sam and family friend Dominic Valentine, Beautiful Boy (sung by Daisy Nielsen, Block 4, with sixth former Will Reynolds on guitar).

To see photographs and video please go to

Below are the names of the many Bedalians who contributed to Kadian’s memorial:


Brahms: Ye now have sorrow. Soloist Olivia Brett.
Schubert: Intende voci orationis. Soloist Paddy Burrowes.
Georgie Gulliver, Poppy Duncan, Immy Welch, Lili Bidwell, Elise Layton, Chihiro Hatakeyama-Hoddinott, Lily Brown, Eleanor Lester, Emily Hill, Katharine Welch, Sheila Rowe, Clare Jarmy, Talia Pick, Laura Wise, Ellie Catton, Claudia Rea, Stella Green, Lizzie Reynolds, Rose Voorhees, Julia Newlands, Eloise Anderson, Anastasia Sheldon, Nick Meigh, Nick Crane, Oscar Braun-White, Alex Yetman, Jack Voorhees, Callum Anderson, Toby Matimong, George Butler, Josh Grubb, Roly Botha, James Holt, John Sugden, Quito Clothier, Dan Rasbash, Patrick Newlands, Freddie Willatt, Matthew Paul, Per Carminger.
Trio: Nick Gleed, Keir Rowe, Will Lithgow.

Count on Me

Roly Botha, Josh Mazas, Hebe Bartlett, Daisy Nielsen, Becky Grubb, Jack Voorhees, Chloe Polkinghorne.


Will Harvey, Nav Khalessi, Xavier Pye, Jack Voorhees, Patrick Newlands, Rori Abel.

Count on Me (live)

Delilah Montagu

My Brother Kadian (slide show)

Sam Harding

I love my Mac

Becky Grubb, Rori Abell, Oscar Braun-White, Roly Botha, Jack Voorhees, Josh Mazas, Rhea Papettas, Hebe Bartlett, Daisy Nielsen, Alex Houghton.


Hebe Bartlett, Tilly Cook, Erin Jones, Hannah Lester, Daisy Nielsen, Chloe Polkinghorne, Freya Priestly, Emma Young. 
Luca Caruso (piano), Ally Macdonald (guitar).

Beautiful Boy

Daisy Nielsen, Will Reynolds.


George Veys, Jack Paxman, Chris Bury, Mim Evison.


Joanne Greenwood