Remembering Michael – Paying tribute to one of our Sudbury Club members

Sporting Memories was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Michael Harding-Payne (right), a member of our Sudbury Club who had a huge passion for sport and who would get the weekly club underway with the sound of his rattle. 

Michael’s love for sport

Michael was a devoted husband, family man, a much loved father and grandfather who also had a great interest and passion for sport. He was a director of Sudbury Town during the 1970s and would often travel across England to watch them play, with a notable highlight being the team’s run to the FA Vase final in 1989, which culminated in a trip to Wembley Stadium.

Michael’s enjoyment of sport also went beyond football and he was a keen cricketer, playing for several local clubs across Sudbury and Suffolk with his left-arm spin and batting efforts.

He shared many happy moments of sport during his life, watching football with his son over the decades as well as reflecting on his memories with friends and the Sporting Memories Club.

Bringing his passion of sport to Sporting Memories

Michael was a popular member of our Sporting Memories Club in Sudbury and as mentioned previously, he would be the man to begin the weekly sessions with the sound of his football rattle.

He enjoyed his time listening to the guest speakers at the Club as well as contributing his own thoughts and memories from watching sport across Sudbury as well as around the world.

Andy Read, the facilitator of our Club in Sudbury, paid tribute to Michael in his reflections:

“I am very sorry to hear the news of Michael’s passing. I got to know Michael through his attendance every week at Sudbury Sporting Memories and have often said on a Wednesday evening how much I liked my weekly chat to him (and every so often we had a hug).”

“Personally, knowing him meant a lot to me. His passing is a loss to not only his family and friends, but Sudbury as a whole and those who loved Sudbury Town FC, Sudbury cricket and more recently Sudbury Sporting Memories.

“Michael’s rattle has been our call sign, at the heart of every week since we started…and Michael has embodied everything we’re about.”

From everyone at Sporting Memories, we would like to pass on our condolences to Michael’s family and friends as well as all associated with Sudbury Sporting Memories at this time.

Comments: 2 (Add)

Janet Wright on December 18 2023

Lovely and fitting tribute. I remember when I lived in Witney in 80s Sudbury came to play. We went to watch bumped into Michael, Irene (my friend from school) and the two children. They had travelled the couple of hours or so had no tea (evening game) so we went to the chippy and they were set for the trip home. Mind you so much to catch up on it was way past mid night when they left!

Andy Read on December 18 2023

Michael has epitomised everything Sporting Memories is about.


We’re always on the lookout for volunteers to help run our clubs all across England, Scotland and Wales – find out more here.

Find a club

Want to know where your nearest Sporting Memories club is? View our Club Finder page here.

Our impact

Reducing Isolation

Bringing older people together to reduce isolation and loneliness

Mental Wellbeing

Supporting older people to improve their mental wellbeing

Physical Wellbeing

Getting older people active to live healthier lifestyles

Sign up to our newsletter