Charity in memory of tragic cyclist Sam Harding gives out first grants

Sam Harding’s father Keith wants to keep son’s memory alive with travel and tourism charity that has raised �25,000

Keith Harding has called for a change in the law after the driver who opened a car door into his son Sam’s path was cleared of manslaughter.

But this week he said he does not want a protracted legal campaign to be his son’s legacy.

Mr Harding, 56, has founded a charity called Go Make It Happen! and it is this endeavour that he hopes will keep the tragic 25-year-old’s memory alive.

The charity aims to help young people aged 18 to 30 on the road towards careers in the travel industry.

Travel was one of Sam’s biggest passions and shortly before he was killed in a “car dooring” incident in Holloway Road, Holloway, on August 6 last year, he landed a permanent job with online travel firm Voyage Priv�, based in Wharf Road, Islington.

Go Make It Happen! has raised an impressive �25,000 since gaining registered charity status in January and has recently handed out its first grants to two trainee London tourist guides.

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Mr Harding, of Lightfoot Road, Hornsey, said: “I don’t want to get caught up in a legal and political campaign. I will call for it and hopefully others will pick up on that. And we can get something happening out of it.

“But it’s not the way I want to remember my son. Our charity helping young people to get involved in the travel and tourism industry, that’s how I get through all this. It’s a more positive aspect of my memory of Sam, who was a loving, energetic, very social, exciting and interesting person.”

The charity has helped towards the fees of Denisa Podhrazska and Marija Lapteva, both 29, who are training to be Blue Badge tourist guides, which Mr Harding says is the gold standard of guiding. As well as being a trainer of English language teachers, he is himself an accredited Blue Badge guide who leads tours of Parliament and the All England Club in Wimbledon.

He added: “We set up the charity because Sam was involved in travel and tourism, that was his career, and he got that opportunity not through going to university or having lots of money. So the idea is to help young people to build careers in travel and tourism at any level.

“We have raised a lot of money, but finding people to give it to is not as easy as I thought. We want it to be young people who see it as a career, not just money to go on your gap year or something like that.

“Because of the court case, it has been on the back burner, and we have only just started to give the money away.

“It’s great to see people given opportunities to develop and grow, which don’t necessarily involve academic achievement, and it’s a way of keeping the memory of my son alive.”

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