|Michael Hale with his wife, Lola|
Michael J Hale (BGS 1979-86)
It was with great shock and terrible sadness that we learned last month of the death of Michael Hale, a great friend and a much-loved family man. Michael passed away in Murcia, Spain, where he lived with his family, after a very brief illness.
Michael was born in 1968 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and moved with his family to Boston in 1978, completing his primary education at Tower Road School and entering BGS in September 1979. Popular with staff and fellow pupils alike, Michael’s warm and engaging personality, spontaneous charm and unfailing good humour won him many friends.
Mike was a gifted linguist and excelled at French. At the start of the Lower Sixth he was inspired by Jean Thomas to take up the challenge of learning Spanish from scratch, joining a small class to study intensively for O Level after a year and A Level in the Upper Sixth. The language and culture of Spain were Jean’s great passion and she took a deep personal interest and pleasure in nurturing Michael’s burgeoning love of Spanish. This was to prove to have a profound impact on the course of his life.
After BGS Michael went up to Queen Mary, University of London, to study Spanish and French, picking up some Swedish too along the way. He graduated in 1989 and embarked on a career in the fruit and vegetable import and export business, making full use of his skills as a linguist to develop his professional networks in France and Spain. Initially based in the UK, Mike worked for a number of companies in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire importing produce for sale to all the major supermarkets.
In 1991 Mike married his first wife, Lisa, whom he had met whilst at university, and they set up home together in Spalding and later in Ely. Lisa had suffered since childhood with cystic fibrosis and had undergone a heart and lung transplant in her early twenties. The transplant gave her the chance to enjoy a new energy and vitality, and her optimistic spirits and love of life were admired by all who knew her. With Michael’s constant love and support, Lisa was able to live her life to the full during their years together. Sadly, Lisa’s health began to deteriorate in the late 1990s and she passed away in July 1999.
After Lisa’s death, Michael moved first to Sussex, then in 2002 to Spain to manage his British employer’s agricultural and export interests in the Murcia region. It was there that he met and fell in love with Lola, whom he married in the summer of 2003. Mike and Lola’s daughter Claudia was born the following year and her younger brother Daniel in 2008.
Michael continued to work in the agricultural produce business, in recent years extending his interests to the German market and becoming self-employed. It was on returning from a business trip to Germany in mid-February that he began to feel unwell with flu-like symptoms. Just three days later he was admitted to hospital as his symptoms worsened, but tragically passed away very soon after admittance on February 16th.
Mike was always distinguished by his honesty and personal integrity. He brought to all his friends a bright spirit of optimism, an invariably positive and benevolent frame of mind, lively humour, loyalty and resilience in adversity. His sudden and untimely death at the age of 44 has come as an immense blow to Lola and their young children, as well as to Mike’s father and step-mother, Philip and Jenny, and his sister Rebecca, and he will be terribly missed by his many friends and colleagues both in Spain and in England.