Dr Harry Potter: Expert in overseas rural development


Dr Harry Potter, who died suddenly from an aortic rupture aged only 69, was a highly experienced development professional who worked for many years in Africa, Asia and South America.

His work, along with his passion and dedication, earned him an OBE for services to Food Security in Africa in 2003. In everything he did, Harry would keep true to his motto, POSH – Patience, Optimism and a Sense of Humour.

Harry Potter was born in 1943, originating from the Wirral. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and after a spell of teaching in Peterborough began his 40-year career in the Department for International Development (DFID). He began working as a Field Officer in Zambia in 1966, going on to be an adviser in Latin America, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. In 1996 he was posted to Malawi as DFID's Rural Development Adviser.

He met his wife Rosie at Christ Church, Port Sunlight, and they had three children, Sarah, Richard and Andrew, all of whom were born in Africa. Harry had always been involved in the church and on his retirement he became an Elder at Christ Church United Reformed Church, taking responsibility for property. He was a great expert at DIY and as a listed building, the church was a challenge he relished, overseeing the installation of a chapel and having the roof repaired after the lead had been stolen. He also joined the national URC finance committee, to whom he was able to give guidance from his wealth of experience.

In December 2005 the Mersey URC Synod set up a Malawi Task Group to be responsible for a global partnership with Churches of Christ in Malawi (CCM), of which Potter became a co-convenor. He set up the Water Project with the two CCM missions, developed a computer training room in the Blantyre Women's Centre, led a five-year review and liaised with the CCM leadership. He was also very active and supportive when it came to arranging visits of Malawians to the Synod and fund-raising events such as last year's Gospel Choir Concert.

During the past year Potter had made contact with Temwa, a Bristol-based charity that undertakes sustainable community development in northern Malawi, and he paid a visit there last summer. He was leading a five-year review for Temwa and the development of a strategy which would have involved him chairing meetings in Malawi with their partner organisations. He will be sadly missed in this role but his family hope to keep up the link with Temwa.

Harry Potter will be very much missed by his loving family, his friends and colleagues both here and in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. He was an inspiration to many, had an ability to get alongside all kinds of people and was always available to help people with jobs ranging from plumbing to electronic equipment.

Harry Potter, overseas development worker: born Bebington, Wirral 16 April 1943; married Rosie (one daughter, two sons); OBE 2003; died 30 April 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk