Sunday, 4 December 2011

Lawrence Hardwicke

Lawrence was the Service Manager in my days at AFN. He was a lifelong personal friend of John Aldington; however they both maintained a professional relationship within AFN in those days inside of working hours.
I always looked upon Lawrence as a real gentleman and he knew his Porsche cars like no other. Occasionally I got the chance to go out with Lawrence in a Porsche 911 on a test drive and he transferred his feedback to me so easily and confidently. He was a great and talented driver and a “dyed in the wool” enthusiast for Porsche. I liked Lawrence very much and I think looking back on things he was not tough enough to go on to be General Manager, as Campbell Finley was promoted over him to this post, which must have been upsetting for him at the time.
During my time at AFN, I had a couple of formal annual meetings with Lawrence to get a pay rise. The first meeting took place exactly one year after I joined AFN, which saw Lawrence turn my request down on the grounds that I was not married and had no family to support! I left the office dumbfounded and then went back later and asked him, “If I went out and got married, would that warrant a pay rise” and he indicated it would. I think Lawrence wanted to employ steady, married, young men with responsibilities at AFN and to some extent, I could see some kind of logic there. The second annual salary meeting took place on 3rd January 1974, on the same subject of a pay rise; he agreed to raise my pay to £0.95 pence per hour!
Lawrence was married to Pam and he and John Aldington’s wife Gillian were all good friends. They had met both of their respective wives together many years earlier. John actually courted Pam initially and Lawrence, Gillian, but they each married the others young lady some years later. I think this is a lifetime bond that John and Lawrence enjoyed and I can relate to this as Bob Grafham and I enjoy the same kind of friendship. 

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