St Andrew’s Church at Heddon-on-the-Wall was packed out this morning (Thursday 10 May) for the funeral of Mike Furlonger, a member of our Society and a well known figure amongst the local history community, having served as Treasurer of the Newcastle branch of the Historical Association when it was active back in the 1980s, in addition to his many years of teaching history and especially the history of our region.
Well over 100 people attended Mike’s Thanksgiving Service and it was obvious that he was a valued and much loved member of the Heddon community, active in various groups in the village including, of course, Chair of Heddon Local History Society. John Grundy was amongst those who paid tribute to Mike, and reminded us all how tenacious Mike could be if he wanted you as a guest speaker at Heddon. I myself have attended regularly for more years than I can remember, and was also invited to deliver presentations to the small group that Mike established at the Lit & Phil following his retirement from the Explore adult education programme. Mike always took a keen interest in my research activities, providing encouragement and praise in equal measure.
It was at the Centre for Lifelong Learning (now Explore) that I first met Mike. He became an active tutor at CLL having taught history at Newcastle College for twenty years before retiring in 2000.
Mike took a keen interest in our Society, and was always generous in his appreciation of our journal and our activities. We were hoping that he might contribute an essay in the 2016 or 2017 editions but failing health prevented him from doing this.
Post script. Mike Furlonger’s paper on the Primrose League , based on his original draft and prepared for publication by Liz O’Donnell and Sue Ward, was finally published in the 2020 edition of North East History. Peter Nicklin