Kadian kept in mind

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Friends here continue to remember Kadian Harding, the 14-year-old former Shepherdstown resident killed last week in a bicycling outing not far from his new home in southwest England.

On Friday morning, Harding’s parents Thomas and Debora and his 13-year-old sister Sam will hold small service under a canopy of birch, maple and ash trees at the Hampshire Sustainability Centre.

Hundreds gathered in Shepherdstown amid rain to share memories of Kadian Harding on July 26, the day after the 14-year-old former West Virginian was killed while cycling in southwest England.

They’ve invited friends from Shepherdstown and elsewhere to join in a moment of silence at 6 a.m. EST – just as Kadian’s body is laid to rest at 11 a.m. there. The family also plans to hold a larger memorial for their son in the fall.

“It’s amazing to see the number of hearts this young man touched,” reads the invitation to Friday’s service that was posted by Thomas Harding. Family spokeswoman Cat Diesel said Monday that the Hardings aren’t talking with reporters.

The accident occurred at 5:50 p.m. on July 25 as Kadian, who was taking summer school classes at Marlborough College about 100 miles outside of London, bicycled with his father and friends.

According to news reports there, Kadian was bicycling ahead of the group in a designated cycling lane when he came down a steep hill; his bike entered the roadway and collided with a van. News reports say the police continue to investigate what happened.

After Kadian’s death, Marlborough school officials placed the campus flag at half staff.

Hundreds gathered in downtown Shepherdstown July 26 to share favorite stories about Kadian. The candlelight walk began at 9 p.m. at McMurran Hall and ended at the Harding family’s former home on King Street.

Over the weekend, bicyclists in Washington held a vigil and community ride to remember Kadian. The event was organized by City Bikes, where Kadian would help out with IT work during his breaks from school.

Debora Harding serves as CEO of the independent neighborhood bike shop chain founded in D.C. in 1987.

“Kadian will be remembered as a brilliant, articulate and kind young man,” reads part of a news release sent out by the store to announce the July 29 event. “His oft-occurring smile can still be felt within the walls of all three City Bikes shops, especially the Capitol Hill location, which Kadian helped to build.”

Kadian’s father is one of the former owners of The Observer, the monthly Shepherdstown newspaper. In 2010, he was named the state’s Journalist of the Year, an award bestowed by the Justice Association of West Virginia following Harding’s Freedom of Information Act fight over whether names in a referendum petition could be released to the public.

Earlier this summer, Harding won another legal victory when Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom ruled that a state law forbidding the disclosure of election complaints is unconstitutional. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a former journalist, has been widely criticized for her office’s enforcement of the law.

Publication of Harding’s latest book, on the life of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess, is set for next month.

Kadian’s sister also has begun work on a book, a collection of memories of her brother’s life. She has asked friends to send their recollections to her at sharding1999@gmail.com.

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