Harold Jack (Jim) Widdicombe
By Alan (L) Jones
(19th September 1899 – 24th May 1969) Honorary Member since 1947
With assistance from: Ancestry, the late Dennis Bentley, Pat Holt & Dave Shotton
Unfortunately, the passing of Jim Widdicombe seems to have gone unrecorded in the KMC Newsletter at the time. He was born in Fulham but when he became associated with the KMC he was living in Altrincham. He was qualified as an engineer and was the local representative of the Bifurcated and Tubular Rivet Co. Ltd which operated from Aylesbury until last year. He moved back to Aylesbury in retirement, if not before.
He is recorded as having been elected an Honorary Member as a ‘Benefactor’, but his actual contribution to the Club is not recorded. Being in his late 40s, he was much older than any of the Founding Members who were in their mid-20s. This would have seemed much more significant then than it would now. Possibly he was held in high esteem because of his seniority and because he was a sociable character and a great teller of stories. He was a friend of Len Stubbs. He was not a climber and only attended the more modest walking meets. Nevertheless, he was obviously a keen supporter of the Club in its earlier years and is shown in photographs of the first Annual Dinner. He does not appear to have ever applied for membership, possibly because he knew that he could not satisfy the strict climbing criteria in operation at that time.
The Committee had proposed inviting Jim to become President, but this was rejected at the AGM in February 1946. At the committee meeting in May 1946, Harry Parker, then Chairman, proposed that “Persons who shewed [sic] great interest in the club, persons who got to [sic] old for active participation on meets, and persons in similar cases, could be invited by the committee to be Honorary Members of the Club and that this be ratified at the AGM”. At the meeting the following September, it was proposed that Messrs Byrom, Hunt, Nicholson and Widdecombe [sic] be invited as guests at the Dinner. At the AGM in 1947 a new clause was added to the Constitution: “The Committee shall have the power to elect as an Honorary Member any person who has rendered eminent service to the cause of mountaineering or assistance to the Club”, although no vote on this is recorded.
At subsequent committee meetings the following were invited to be Honorary Members: in March 1947, J E Byrom and in April 1947, J H Widdecombe [sic]. How Jim became recognised as a ‘Benefactor’ does not seem to be recorded. Maybe he paid a voluntary subscription.