Memory of former Norfolk adult social care director lives on at primary school in Zimbabwe

Jennifer Mudeka, from the Mudeka Foundation at Rugare Primary School in Zimbabwe. With her are headmaster Christopher Mutandi and deputy head Patrick Muwadi. Pic: Mudeka Foundation.
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The memory of the former director of adult social care in Norfolk is to live on in the country of his birth, thanks to fundraising efforts for a school in Zimbabwe.

Harold Bodmer. Pic: Matt Keal Photography.
Harold Bodmer. Pic: Matt Keal Photography.

Harold Bodmer died at the age of 61, in July last year, after suffering a heart attack at a meeting of the county council’s health and social care executive.

Mr Bodmer was a trustee of the Norfolk-based Mudeka Foundation, set up by musician Anna Madeka to provide education for orphans and disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe.

The foundation last year held an event at Thickthorn Hall near Norwich to celebrate Mr Bodmer.

Those attending were asked to raise money for a multi-purpose assembly area at Rugare Primary School in Mr Bodmer’s home country of Zimbabwe.

Along with a collection by former colleagues at Norfolk County Council, £7,000 was raised, with a further £1,400 donated by a private sponsor.

That has meant the Mudeka Foundation has been able to revamp a muddy and dusty patch of land at the school, so it can be used for sport.

A new assembly point was officially opened at the school last month, which will mean up to 1,560 children will be able to take part in sports, such as volley ball and basketball, which they have never been able to before.

A plaque in Mr Bodmer’s memory has been unveiled at the school.

Ms Mudeka, from Southburgh, near Dereham, who runs the foundation, said: “On behalf of Harold’s family and the foundation, I would like to thank the wonderful people of Norfolk for their generosity in raising so much money, for making this long lasting memorial to Harold a reality, and for making such a life changing contribution to the children, and the school.

“It has made their start to the new year a very happy one indeed.”

Born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), Mr Bodmer moved to England in 1977.

He initially worked as a social worker in Lambeth.

By the time of his death he was not only director of adult social services in Norfolk but also the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

His sudden death led to an outpouring of tributes and hundreds bid farewell at a Norwich Cathedral funeral. – Norwich Evening News24