Book Of Remembrances

Mike Styles - Welwyn 41 Club

It was sad to receive the news that Mike Styles a long-time member of Welwyn 41 club had died. His Funeral was held on the 10th December, 2020 at Braughing Church. Attendance was restricted due to Covid regulations but Chairman Paul Latham, Howard Norfolk and David Connold attended on behalf of the club.

We knew Mike as a builder but he had a previous distinguished career in engineering. He had a 1st class degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London. Having built a rocket engine with a friend in his third year at University, he joined what was then known as the “Brain Drain” by moving to the USA for greater opportunities and higher salaries. He designed smoke screens for US helicopters and other products while working for Bendix Corporation in Utica. After he returned to the UK, he developed industrial robots at Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, and manufactured diamond-cut computer hard discs as Managing Director of Bryant Symons & Co in north London.

Rather than continuing to work for large corporations, he decided that he would like to run his own company. Mike Styles Construction Ltd was founded. His practical skills and great capacity for hard work translated well into the building industry. He was an incredibly hard worker and an intelligent problem solver.

However, he also played hard in his spare time. He was a keen rugby player. He had been a hooker in the school team at Taunton School. He continued to play regularly and he had a long association with Datchworth Rugby Club which he had founded with a friend and where he was a player, coach and club treasurer.

Before he moved to Braughing, Mike was an active member of the Rotary Club of Stevenage. He was always one to put his hand up to do charitable work. His van and trailer were invaluable when it came to organising events such as the Stevenage Carnival and “Lend a Hand Day” doing DIY jobs for the old and needy.

He applied his skills to maintaining St Mary’s Church Braughing for many years. On hearing that a huge stone font needed to be moved from the interior of St Mary’s Church Welwyn, he organised a team of strong volunteers, borrowed fork lift truck from Chas Lowe and moved the font to form the centre piece of the Memorial Garden in the churchyard.

His marriage to Anne was a second marriage. Her first husband was a member of Potters Bar Round Table where she was in Ladies Circle. So, though he had never been in Round Table, Mike qualified as a 41 Club member when he came to Welwyn. He and Anne attended many of the 41 Club National Conferences for which Anne organised the costumes for the last night fancy dress parties. Anne was instrumental in helping Welwyn win the best National cabaret performance at the Birmingham (2003) and Bournemouth (2005) conferences.

Though he was always busy, he found time to attend the Hertingfordbury Breakfast Club in his famous red jacket. He had been a founder member when it comprised professionals in building, land and estate management. It is still going today under the Chairmanship of Lyn Evans. There were fine tributes to Mike at his funeral from his children Jenny, Sarah, Jackie and John. He was clearly a devoted and fun father and they loved him dearly. Our sympathies go the them, to Anne and to his many grandchildren and all his family.