Jim Gardner bravely fought for our country, but never left Cheadle Hulme School behind. He regularly supported us, having attended copious Old Waconian and School events for over 70 years.
Firstly working at the Guardian Assurance as Junior, Jim joined the Royal Air Force in 1941. During World War II, he served with Bomber Command. His time in this role saw him partake in 37 operations, flying a Halifax over France and Germany. Jim continued instructing until 1946, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, a specific award for those who displayed “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in operations against the enemy”.
Returning to civilian life, he went back to the Guardian Assurance. Here, Jim initiated a Marine Insurance Account in Manchester, which ultimately flourished. He continued to work for the company until he took retirement in 1981. Jim also joined the Manchester Marine Association, which he became Chairman of in 1964. He was an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (Marine Division), and a committee member of Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance (Pensioners).
Jim sacrificed his own time to give talks – all proceeds from which were donated to Bury Hospice and CHS. He won the 2014 Distinguished Old Waconian Award, something he was very modest about: “I don’t feel I deserve this award, I am deeply honoured and never expected it.”