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Obituary: Michael Reynolds – Highcliffe pharmacist and village Rotary founder

A HIGHCLIFFE pharmacist and founder member of the town’s Rotary club who served the community for over 40 years has died at the age of 85.

Michael Reynolds helped form the club in 1977, and its motto ‘Service Before Self’ becoming something that he lived by according to those who knew him.

One of his sayings, according to family, was: "What Highcliffe needs is a listening shop". So he set about ensuring his chemist, the first in Lakewood and then in the High Street, was just that.

Mike Reynolds
Mike Reynolds

Customers who came in always found Mike ready for a friendly chat and willing to listen to their problems.

Mike was born in a set of triplets in 1937 in a room above his grandmother’s pub The White Lion Inn in a village called, Nantybwych near Tredegar, South Wales. The newborns were six weeks premature and weighed a total of 10lbs.

Sadly, one of the babies, David, died at just six days old but the third, John, lives in Hedge End.

As a boy Mike joined the 29th Newport Sea Scouts troop where he became a Queen scout. He was schooled at Newport grammar followed by Portsmouth College of Pharmacy.

A talented pharmacist, Mike created DOOP services which disposes of unwanted prescription medicines and also founded The Poppitt Company with the invention of a machine which de-blistered medicines to be put into monitored dosage packages.

Mike designed the device in association with the University of Exeter after becoming concerned that people working in pharmacies were at risk of developing repetitive strain injury while carrying out the task.

With his first wife, Hazel, Mike had two sons, Philip and Brian, and was also a stepfather to Steven, Nicholas and Lesley after marrying Sandra in 1977. The couple were together for 45 years.

His seven grandchildren affectionately knew him as ‘Gramps’.

Paying tribute to Mike, fellow Rotary club founder member, Tony Parkinson, said: “The main thing you remember about Mike is that he always tried to grasp the ‘bigger picture’ and to tackle the larger projects.

"This was a reflection of the remarkable capacity of his brain, of which many of us mortals could not but be in awe. He used this to try and engage the club with some of the larger issues of the day – through his many talks at club meetings but also in promoting larger events.

“Before the formation of the club he had been instrumental in promoting ‘The Slop Pond Games’, a forerunner of what became the annual village fete.

"His interest in local history led to the photographic exhibition, ‘Highcliffe Then & Now', and he followed that with a much larger event at Highcliffe School, with stalls and talks to introduce local residents to the potential of the computer chip on all our lives - this was aptly titled 'Chips with Everything'."

Mike had retired as a pharmacist in 2009 and despite failing eyesight he managed to enjoy a love of radio and audio books, taking an interest in environmental issues and current affairs in his later years.

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