Mark was a fixture at BOS conventions and although I never met him outside of a convention, I had great affection for his uncluttered love of origami and the work of Akira Yoshizawa in particular. In the 80s. I made some spoof badges proclaiming “ I owe it all to Radford’s Hat - Akira” and presented them to Mark. Little did I know he work proudly wear them at every convention, including the most recent, and he never failed to thank me for making them.
Most people will remember Mark for the infamous “Radford’s Hat” - a rather excellent practical design which was his only known creation. He unfailingly chose first time attendees to conventions and took them on one side to teach them this gem of origami designs. As prizes for one particular novelty competition, Mick Guy presented the winners with gold, silver & bronze Radford’s Hats.
As ever, Mark never let on if he got the joke, but you feel he may well have been chuckling to himself inside all these years! Mark was a member of the Society for over thirty years and never lost his enthusiasm for paper-folding, or had a bad word to say to anyone. I’m sure that’s how he would like to be remembered.
British Origami Society members, and visitors to our conventions, will be very sad to learn of the death of Mark Radford, one of our longest standing members. Mark was a great enthusiast of origami, always present at every one of our conventions. He was always pleased to talk about his origami exploits, and to teach you his famous newspaper hat (if you didn’t already know it!) Drawings for Mark’s hat featured in our Birmingham 1985 convention pack for those wishing to complete their origami repertoire.
Mark worked for many years at Boosey and Hawkes, (musical instruments). He was a keen pianist and entertained us with impromptu concert at conventions. Following his retirement a few years ago, he moved to the Isle of Wight, where he enjoyed new pursuits of cycling, and teaching origami when ever he could. One of the characters of the BOS membership: we’ll miss him, and we send our condolences to his family.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Mark Radford with whom I was chatting at the last convention. It was at the Cobden (Birmingham) in 1973 that Mark first introduced himself to me: “Hello, you’re new aren’t you? Want to see my hat?” Always prepared, Mark brought newspapers , just the right size to make a wearable hat. We chatted as we folded and at the end I had not only a fine hat but a friend as well. Over the years, we pulled Marks leg - at most conventions he would befriend a new member and teach his hat. It was years later that I diagrammed it - he was ecstatic and very proud to see his work diagrammed.
At future conventions he came armed with numerous copies of the Daily Mirror and piles of diagram sheets. Never very technically adept at complex work, Mark was always first in line to join my teaching sessions (inevitably a complex fold by Neal Elias) - we always got there and I made sure he had a respectable finished piece. We will miss Mark, always a pleasant word and a pleasure to chat to. He told me that he had only missed two conventions since joining - that’s about 60 conventions.
I was saddened and shocked to hear of Mark’s sudden death recently, via a letter from his brother John. His family have our sympathies. Mark was at the last Convention when he appeared in good health. He had not long moved to the Isle of Wight in retirement where he was enjoying life & I recall he loved travelling and the countryside as well as origami, and had lots of tales. Mark was really one of the characters of the Society, and would always be ready to tell you about his activities - origami-related and otherwise!
He was always a most enthusiastic folder, and also willing to join in with the “silly” activities such as the novelty competitions. His hat, of which he was so proud, is firmly entrenched in BOS folk-lore. He was most pleased to have had his photo taken with Akira Yoshizawa, his origami idol, on one of Mr Yoshizawa’s trips to the UK, and brought the photo out at conventions as testimony to his “finest hour”. We’ll miss him a lot.
Mark loved origami conventions and maybe because he never said a wrong word about anyone, we loved him, and feel a great loss. He was making good contacts through teaching origami on the Isle of Wight and he proved his skill at photography by showing us his excellent collection of ship photos, all well displayed. Other hobbies that gave him and us pleasure were his piano playing and his more unusual skill of knitting hats for sale at Oxfam shops.
When I attended my first BOS convention 1996 Mark realised I was a novice and kindly showed me the ropes, making sure I benefited from all that was on offer. In the breaks he showed me various folds, either his own or those recently learned. At other conventions he was always ready to try out the latest model. At Bristol in April we met again and Mark was finding difficulty in following the instructions. 1 was so pleased I was able to help him, a small return for his help and patience with me on more than one occasion.
Members who are reading about the passing of Mark Radford may be excused for saying “Mark who?” But for those who got to know him at conventions, at which he was almost always present, (and we have had over 60 of them) Mark came over as an enthusiastic and loyal member of the Society. He was one of those essential band of supporters who was ever present to welcome newcomers and they usually had the delight of folding his hat! Whether in fact Mark invented anything else, I do not know but the term ‘Radford hat’ will always remain part of British Origami folklore. Mark was not the person to be with if you wanted a quiet breakfast, but he was a thoughtful and very kind individual. Origami has its fair share of characters and we have just lost a lovable one.
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