Football shirt in space: a memorial for Richard Harwood
Launching a football shirt into space as a memorial might seem like an unusual way to celebrate someone’s life. But to everyone who knew Rich, a memorial space flight was a perfect tribute.
Richard was a close friend and colleague of our Head of Creative Services, Matt Lanning, who tells the story of his friendship with Rich:
A dear friend of mine and also my business partner, Rich had energy, drive and passion for life like no other. He was always the life and soul of the party, treasuring the finer things and living life to the full each day. His enthusiasm inspired me throughout the years, whether it be through his passion for football and boxing, or his knowledge and entrepreneurial drive when we set up our business together. Rich always took an interest in my creative work for Sent Into Space. We would often sit and discuss the universe over a beer, so I was honoured to be able to bring two of Rich’s interests together, launching his beloved Preston North End shirt into space. Whilst he was taken from us at such a young age, I will always hold the precious memories close from my time spent with Rich. I’m grateful that we have been able to give the signed shirt back to Rich’s family, so that they can keep a wonderful memento to remember him by. I am also grateful for all of the press coverage surrounding Rich’s memorial launch, he would have loved the attention!
Commemorating a passed loved one with a space launch is not a new concept for us; in 2017 we founded Aura Flights, the first company in the UK to offer a space scattering service. Using a unique, purpose-designed ash vessel, we carry ashes over 100,000 feet into the air above the Earth and gently release them to travel around the planet on a breathtaking final journey, all filmed to create a moving memorial video. However, for Rich’s memorial, we wanted to do something different.
Richard’s family originated in Preston, which sparked a lifelong passion for Preston North End Football Club even though he spent most of his life in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. To Rich, his support for Preston North End Was a way to acknowledge his heritage.