In the Autumn of 2012, five of Kadian's friends at Bedales (Nav, Xav, Will, Louis and Tamara) agreed to build an observatory as a legacy to Bedales in honour of Kadian and the memory of their friendship.

"Kadian's friendship was infinite just like the universe," said Naveed Khalessi, one of the friends who has spearheaded the project. "We often see mundane or boring memorials, so we thought why don't we do what Kadian would do and "Think Different". This eventually led us to the conclusion that we wanted to make the Kadian Observatory."

The Kadian Observatory project forms part of the students’ Outdoor Work coursework, one of their Bedales Assessed Courses (equivalent to GCSE). The building, which is due to be completed by the end of April 2014, is circular in structure, approximately ten foot in diameter, with a concrete floor, red brick walls, a white retractable dome and a door carved from a hazel tree that grew on campus.Inside the observatory stands a powerful Dobsonian Reflector telescope – which the students acquired from a local astronomer’s club - with a twelve-inch aperture lens, capable of exploring more than 50,000 celestial objects and providing enough light for close-ups of the Rings of Jupiter.

Construction was completed in April 2014 by the original group of five students with the help of a few of their friends, and with the support of Peter Coates (head of Outdoor Work). 

To see how the observatory was planned and built, overcoming many obstacles along the way, watch this fascinating video (right) which was made by the students.

The Opening

The Kadian Observatory was opened on 28 June 2014. Over a hundred classmates, staff, parents and friends gathered to celebrate the culmination of two years' effort, a product of love and hard work, whose result is as technologically inspiring as it is aesthetically pleasing. 

At the opening ceremony it was announced that the Observatory is almost ready for use: it has now been fitted with a computer with internet access, a floating wooden floor and power. Inside, the telescope has been secured on its stand. Soon it will be possible to rotate the roof using a motor so that the telescope can track a target star or galaxy. Over the summer, the telescope will be calibrated, so that by September, when the students return, the Observatory should be available for its first operation.

From this point on, the Kadian Observatory will be available to the Bedales students and staff.  One group that intends to make good use of the observatory is the Bedales Stars at Night group, a weekly student activity group led by Michael Truss who is Head of Academic Enrichment and Head of Mathematics, Bedales and has a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics from University of Leicester and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Kadian Harding was a member of the Bedales Stars at Night group.


The Fund

The purpose of the Kadian Observatory Fund is to provide maintenance to the Kadian Observatory and support associated student activities.

The Kadian Observatory Fund was established in March 2014. Donations will be managed by the Bursar of Bedales School, with funds ring-fenced within the general account. Donations to the Fund can be used for Gift Aid, as the school is a registered charity.

Before the Fund was established, the Bedales Parents Association provided almost £3,000 towards the construction of the Observatory.  After the Kadian Observatory Fund was established, an initial donation was made to the Fund in the amount of £10,000 from Kadian’s grandparents, Frank and Belinda Harding. A further £1000 has been donated by other families.


The aim is to raise £100,000. This will be sufficient to establish an endowment that will be able to support the following activities:

1. Maintenance of the Kadian Observatory, including repairs, depreciation, insurance, electricity, and occasional upgrades.

2. An annual Kadian Harding Prize for excellence in Science and Technology that will be given to two students in Block 3 (ages 13-14) who have shown outstanding scientific inquiry, particularly inspired by astronomy.

3. An annual Astronomy/Space Lecture by a guest speaker, perhaps during the Badley Weekend, who will inspire the students about science, exploration and the cosmos. 

Donations to the Kadian Observatory Fund

If you would like to make a donation to the Kadian Observatory Fund, here are two easy ways:

  • Please send a cheque to Bedales School, with a note ‘Kadian Observatory Fund’ to: 

Development Office, Bedales School, Church Road   Steep, Hampshire, GU32 2DG   

  • Or, send a BACS payment along with a memo including  your initial, surname and 'KOF’ to:

Bedales School   
Natwest Bank Sort code: 601626   
Account number: 66414059   
Swift Code: NWBKGB2L   
IBAN Code: GB16NWBK60162666414059

Bedales School is a Registered Charity number 307332 and therefore eligible for Gift Aid. Forms are available from the Development Office.