MCS was informed that Nick had passed away on 1 September 2010.

Nick was born Nicholas Roy Winning Holder on 1 October 1946 in Oxford. He was the only child of his parents Ronald and Maud. He died of cancer in Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes, on 30 April 2010, aged 63.

He studied History at Trinity College, after attending Magdalen College School in Oxford. At MCS he was not a keen rugby player, much preferring football and, annoyed at not being able to play it even in the playground for fear of breaking windows, formed his own team to play in a local football league. Following university, he worked in Birmingham, London and Reading before joining the Open University in Milton Keynes in 1973, where he remained for 33 years until his retirement in 2006. He described joining the OU as finding his niche. He believed in its ideals and ambitions, and enjoyed the social opportunities it provided. He held a variety of different positions, ranging from Assignments Officer when he started, to Head of Policy Development Group.

Nick was an enthusiastic sportsman, playing football, cricket, tennis and badminton, the last of which he was still playing until illness prevented him a couple of years ago. He was also a lifelong fan of Oxford United and he managed to attend numerous matches.

He also loved walking and the British countryside – particularly the Lake District. In recent years he also completed the coast to coast walk with his daughter and son-in-law and walked in the wilderness of Western Scotland with his older son and partner.

Once his illness meant he was unable to continue with his sport, he found other areas to occupy him. He always loved classical music and continued to garden and walk for a while longer. He also spent much time researching and writing up his family history – a substantial project, which he completed in February.

He claimed that his greatest achievement was bringing up his three children, Claire, James and Michael, with his wife, Kathy, whom he married in 1976. His two sons both followed in their father’s footsteps and studied history at university. His daughter is a graphic designer and is expecting his first grandchild at Christmas. Sadly, he won’t meet his granddaughter, but he was delighted to be able attend Michael’s graduation last summer and James’s wedding in March, a few weeks before he died.

Obituary written by Nick’s wife, Kathy Holder.