Remembering Colonel Michael Carrington
Prof. Pietro Laureno
Michael was introduced to me by Francesco Bandarin, Director of UNESCO when I was trying to realize the project of a database of traditional knowledge. I was immediately impressed by his ability to understand the importance of making an inventory of traditional techniques of free access to the web with a wiki-like system. This idea for many too innovative was immediately understood and carried forward enthusiastically by Michael. Thanks to him and Elizabeth, who accepted to be president of the International Institute of Traditional Techniques, the project was presented to HRH the Prince of Wales who wanted to give him his high patronage.
Michael still surprised me when he visited the Gualchiere di Remole, a complex of 1300 abandoned on the river Arno in Florence he understood the historical importance and the ecological significance, so much to devote himself completely to it being restored. Thanks to Michael and the Nobrega foundation, the municipality of Florence has been driven to deal with this extraordinary example of pre-Renaissance factory. It was a great lesson to see how a non-Italian could be passionate about the preservation of this monument that unfortunately the city of Florence did not treat as it deserved. Michael has shown us how the preservation of heritage has no boundaries and that the commitment to defending values goes beyond nations and cultures.
With great lightness and elegance, he always put his personal relationships, his knowledge and his financial resources at the service of heritage. He once called me saying: "Pietro there is a private plane waiting for us to go to Libya, we have to protect the Green Mountains and the site of Cyrene!". How could I answer no to this offer? The task was certainly difficult, but Michael's organizational capacity, his experience and his enthusiasm gave us courage and confidence. And so another extraordinary mission began.
I am sure that this spirit will continue in the Nobrega foundation through which Michael can still be a reference and guide for all of us.
Dr. Allan Gerson
I loved Michael Carrington. Well, that’s not to say that he couldn’t be difficult at times. But he was in his own way a great man: a great friend, a great patriot, a person who allowed his military training to always stand him in good stead in facing life’s adversities of which he had more than his fair share.
These jolts hit him often and he did what superior military men are trained to do: make the best of it. When the calamity of the 9-11 World Trade Center bombing struck him with the loss of a beloved son, he rose to become head of the British families of the 9-11 bombing who were determined to seek justice and accountability in the courts.
It was in that capacity that I first met him in 2002 as I was representing American families of the 9/11 bombing. He was determined to find the culprits and make them pay for their deeds. It’s not easy to deal with many families who suffer a great tragedy and hold them together for a long period of time, but Michael succeeded in doing that.
On a personal level I always kidded him about his beautiful red socks that he invariably wore with his bespoke suits. When in London he introduced me to proper tailors and the charms of Claridge’s. He came with me together with his beloved Elizabeth to Morocco to celebrate my 65th birthday. It seems like yesterday but that was eight years ago.
I had the pleasure of being with him and Elizabeth where they made remarkable advances in the restoration of Olinda in northeast Brazil. Restoration of great small towns and the recesses of the human spirit was his passion, and he did that unwaveringly as head of the Nobrega Foundation.
Where does one find a gentleman of his bearing? I am afraid that we will never see another Michael Carrington, but I am certain that he will remain an inspiration and leave a deep mark on all of us who loved and admired him.
Luciano Bartolini - former Major of Bagno a Ripoli
It is an immense loss for you and for all of us. We will miss the determination, the authority, the commitment he put in the things he faced. His tenacity, his penetrating gaze, his irony will remain forever with us. Now the commitment for the Gualchiere for all of us will be even stronger and in his name! Un abbraccio Luciano Bartolini
Paul Brummell CMG - former Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Romania
I was sorry not to have known Michael for longer: he was such an inspiring man, and the work that you and he carried out in Archita stands as a lasting testimony to him. I remember so clearly the enthusiasm with which you and he welcomed us to that very special village, as well as the warmth with which everyone I met on my first visit to Archita, when you and Michael were not there, spoke of him and his work for Archita and for Romania.
He will be missed, by Adriana, George and me as well as by so many people in Romania and around the world.
James Kidner MVO
A terrible loss for all of us who knew Michael and admired him. He was that rare combination of an energetic visionary and a real gentleman – the world is much poorer for his loss, but we are all much richer for the privilege of knowing him.
You have both been the kindest of friends and mentors to me, and it would be the greatest compliment if I could reciprocate in some way at this impossibly difficult time for you.
Dr. John Kennedy CBE
Michael’s death leaves a huge hole in so many lives including my own. Anyone who met him knows that he was carved from a unique stone and simply had a generous spirit and warm warm heart. He loved and was loved in return by Elizabeth, his family and those honoured to be friends.
I first met him in Brazil. Two strangers destined to share time together and moved by the grief he felt for his adored son whom he had so sadly lost. I, a stranger, held Michael as we wept in sorrow. It bound us as friends forever.
When the good pass, it is always difficult but with Michael we know we had been witness to something and someone, so, so, special. Rest in Peace Michael and thank you for being such a remarkable and wonderful man as well as a true friend.
Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja
My brother, and I read with great sadness the news that Col Michael Carrington passed away on 18th July this year. We had the honour of knowing him for a number of years and the excellent work he had done for various good causes, especially with HRH The Prince of Wales.
Paolo Del Bianco - President of Life Beyond Tourism
I have learned with deep sorrow the conclusion of this earthly life of our friend Col Michel Carrington. In pain we remember the richness of his values and his intellectual capacity to make dreams a reality. I was lucky in my life to meet him and to share moments of great creativity as all we know.
We’ll never forget him.
Paolo Del Bianco and Family
Francesco Bandarin - former UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture
It is with great sadness that I have received the news of the untimely passing of our friend Michael Carrington. This is a loss for all those who loved him and appreciated his passion for life, for heritage, for the conservation of the values of tradition. When I met him, many years ago, I was struck by the originality of his ideas on the preservation of heritage sites, based on innovative managerial and economic processes, needed to sustain conservation in the long term.
During my tenure at UNESCO, we had many opportunities to meet, discuss and work together for the preservation of important sites, such as Olinda in Brazil, or Florence in Italy, or in Cyrene in Libya, or Rosa Montana in Romania. We also had the opportunity to travel together to many of these sites. Michael was a true friend of UNESCO and of World Heritage, and he consistently supported our efforts for the advancement of heritage conservation. His interests extended beyond the conservation of individual sites, and he supported the international organisations for the conservation of traditional knowledge like the ITKI – International Traditional Knowledge Institute, having clearly understood their importance for the future of heritage.
Jointly with Elizabeth, his efforts have made The Maria Nobrega Foundation an international example of private initiative in support of heritage conservation.
We have lost a great friend of heritage, a gentleman and a man of vision, a “heritage soldier”, as he liked to be considered.
Thank you, Michael, for your contribution, for your passion, for your example.
Anne-Louise Reilly-Akers and Chris Akers - Trustees of The Maria Nobrega Foundation
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of our dear friend and mentor "The Colonel" Michael Carrington. Michael had innumerable qualities which were immediately obvious to everyone who knew him.
Anne-Louise and I have cherished our friendship with Elizabeth and Michael over the past 10 years. We have shared so many truly memorable times and experiences together both with our family and friends. Our travels with Elizabeth and Michael included trips to Bucharest, Florence, Matera and Paris both personally and on behalf of The Maria Nobrega Foundation, ITKI and The Heritage Channel.
Michael was a visionary who with Elizabeth shared a mutual passion for the preservation of culture and heritage. Michael was an extraordinary man with many attributes who commanded respect. He was authentic, brave, charismatic, diplomatic, engaging, fearless, genuine, humble, inspiring, just, knowledgeable, lion-hearted, measured, noble, optimistic, positive, quick-witted, reliable, sincere, trustworthy, unique, vivacious, wise, extremely like-able, young-minded and zealous.
We hope that Elizabeth will find some measure of comfort in knowing the depth of our gratitude for his friendship and constant inspiration. Michael's legacy lives on in our hearts and minds, may the Angels watch over him and may he rest in everlasting peace.