Memorial service planned for Meltham man John Bakanoba
Aug 24 2010 by Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
THE dedication to the community of Meltham man John Bakanoba will be honoured at a memorial service next month.
Mr Bakanoba passed away in February, aged 73.
Ugandan-born Mr Bakanoba received an MBE in 2001 for his services to the people of his adopted home.
And now Meltham Methodist Church will hold a celebration of Mr Bakanoba’s life on September 18 at 2pm.
The Rev Laura Hardy, who will lead the service, said: “John served many communities, including his home village of Kyema in rural Uganda; Holset, his workplace for many years in Huddersfield; and Meltham, his adopted home.
“With his family, John provided a unique example of individual strength of purpose and a determination to love one’s neighbours.
“John was a man of faith, and, whilst never afraid to discuss his beliefs, he was someone for whom action was particularly important.”
Mr Bakanoba grew up in the Ugandan village of Kyema, about 130 miles from the capital Kampala.
He moved to England in 1973 to study engineering at Huddersfield Technical College before starting work as a draughtsman at Holset Engineering – now Cummins Turbo Technologies – at St Andrew’s Road, Huddersfield.
He settled in Meltham with his wife Jean and their daughters Jane and Mary.
The Rev Hardy said: “John became known as a man of compassion, dedication and respect for all.
“This was all the more remarkable given that the presence of a black man was virtually unknown to the local community at a time when, generally speaking, hostility and prejudice to migrants was endemic.”
Mr Bakanoba worked with Meltham Methodist Church to raise money for a new well for Kyema. He went on to raise thousands for charity and chaired the Mustard Seed project, a scheme to help orphans in Uganda.
Mr Bakanoba was also active in politics and was elected to Meltham Town Council in 1992, serving two terms as chairman.
In 2001, Prince Charles presented him with an MBE at Buckingham Palace for his services to the community.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the memorial service can call the Rev Hardy on 01484 851 985 or email email@example.com, preferably before August 31.