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Mr Eddy A Harris

Born November 1934 in West Ham, London, but spent the war years in Kent after the family house in East Ham, London was blitzed. Returned to East Ham in 1945 and won a scholarship to East Ham Grammar School. After completing secondary education I joined Ford Motor Co. in 1951 as a Technical Report Writer.  I did National service as a Junior Technician (Air Radar) and on completion, rejoined Ford and became a test engineer working at their Research Engineering Centre.  Eventually became a Senior Test Engineer responsible for testing most parts of cars and trucks, ending up with responsibility for a multi-million dollar computer driven road simulation facility which tested complete vehicles.  Took early retirement in December 1991 but returned within a few years working as a contract engineer for a further 5 years, finally retiring in October 2000.

Married in 1959 and have one daughter, two sons and three grandchildren who have no interest in succulent plants, but there is always hope.

First became interested in succulent plants in 1965 and grew a number on a windowsill and then on the fridge in the conservatory.  Joined the Havering branch of the N.C.S.S. in March 1967 and bought my first greenhouse that year.  In July 1968 took over as temporary branch secretary a position I still hold some 43 years later.  I was Zone 15 rep from 1985 to 1992 when I became Society vice-chairman in April that year, but only held this post for a year when I was then elected as Society Secretary in 1993, a post still currently held.  I was elected a Fellow of the Society in April 2004 in recognition of my work for the Society.

Have been a speaker since 1979 and have spoken to some 70 branches of the Society, usually on Mesembs. or my travels in South Africa.

I have been a member of a number of specialist groups, starting with the Mammillaria Society and the African Succulent Plant Society (ASPS) and as my prime interest has always been in Mesembs., starting with Lithops, my first love, and then other Mesembs., especially Conophytums, I joined the Mesemb. Study Group when it was first formed in 1986 and became a member of its committee the following year.

In 1982 I organised the first Havering Cactus Mart, a biennial event that has been copied by many other branches and Zones, but the Havering ones are still considered the best of their kind by all that take part in them.  I still organise them.

In 1984 I and my late wife took over the Editorship and production of the Essex Succulent Review, a quarterly magazine started by Len Newton in 1963. It is now approaching its 200th issue, making it the longest running magazine of its kind in the world and still continues under my editorship.

In 1992 I attended my first Judges Course and was surprised to qualify in both parts first time.  I still judge the occasional show and was honoured to be asked to help judge the 2000 National Show.  In 2005 I was elected as a member of the Society’s Shows Committee with responsibility for the Society trophies and have played a prominent part in organising the 2008 and 2012 National Shows.