A mounted Guard of Honour accompanied the stunning funeral procession of historian and NQ writer Mike Ingram in Northampton.
In bright winter sunshine, the cortege made its way down Park Avenue South to the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Abington Park, led by members of historical re-enactment society The Troop, in Civil War uniform, and accompanied by members on horseback.
Around 100 mourners were at the service on Wednesday (January 12), as well as many more following the service online, keen to show their respects to Mike, who was an expert on, among other historical periods, the English Civil War and the history of Northamptonshire.
Mike was passionate about preserving the county’s history and led tours, wrote several books, as well as submitting columns for the Nenequirer.
As the coffin entered the church, the quiet birdsong and gentle clip-clop of horses’ hooves was replaced by the blast of ‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire, booming out of a large sound system.
The service was led by the Rev Byung Jun Kim and the hymns were I vow to thee my country and Jerusalem. A reading of Ecclesiastes was given by Amanda Burrell and a moving eulogy to her dad by Ellen Ingram on behalf of the family.
A tribute written by Mike’s friend Lee (or Mick, as Lee always called him) was read, detailing how the pair had been friends since school at Cliftonville and Northampton School for Boys. His memories included blasting music out of a bedroom at Mike’s grandma’s house and a car he hadn’t yet learned to drive, before actually becoming a mobile DJ. Stories of holidays in Weymouth and a touching moment of thanks to Mike’s mum and dad Jill and Terry, before “…looking forward to one day driving down Mike Ingram Way.” A point hopefully taken on by West Northants Council leader, Conservative Jonathan Nunn, who was present, along with Mayor of Northampton, Labour’s Rufia Ashraf.
As the coffin was taken from the church onwards to the Counties Crematorium, the music, hilariously breaking the sombre mood, was the Osmonds’ Crazy Horses.
Michael Richard Ingram (February 19, 1962 – December 10, 2021) was born and bred in Northampton and could trace his family back to the Cross Keys pub in Sheep Street in the early 1800s. His love of history was fired when he took up photography as a young man, and he went on to study a Masters degree in History at the University of Birmingham.
He became the chair of the Northamptonshire Battlefields Society and a founder of Northampton Together: the new Civic Society for Northampton. His book Northampton: 5000 years of history won the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum best publication in 2021.
Many who knew Mike and how he worked to save Northamptonshire’s history over the decades will undoubtedly be determined to continue his legacy. RIP Mike.