It is with the deepest regret and tremendous sadness that we have learnt of the death of Chris (Takis) Harmanda, former Sales and Marketing Director and co-founder of London Greek Radio, (LGR).
Mr Harmanda sadly passed away on Friday 2nd March 2018. He was 59.
Chris (Takis) Harmanda was born in Acheritou, Cyprus on 12th January 1959 and was the original founder of LGR during its conception as a pirate radio station in 1983. The date was Saturday, 8th October 1983.
Chris was born the second eldest to parents George and Loukia Harmanda from Acheritou and Styllous respectively. The first few years of his life in Cyprus were with his two sisters, Maroulla and Eva, and his brother Tony.
In 1967, at the age of eight, Takis came to the UK and grew up in Finsbury Park where he went to Montem Primary School, followed by Holloway Secondary School.
During his schooling, he was regularly available to assist at the family fish and chip shop in Finsbury Park, called “Quality Fish Bar” which is still owned by the family after more than 40 years.
Takis later attended Dean College, obtaining a BSc in Marketing.
In 1983, Chris approached one of his customers George “Akis” Eracleous who was involved in other radio stations and suggested to start a Greek Radio Station for the Greek and Cypriot communities of London to have a voice.
Chris persevered until some Greek records started to spin on the airwaves of an FM pirate radio station in London.
The public response from the community was phenomenal and with this instant success, Mr Harmanda named the station, “London Greek Radio”. The pioneers from those golden years, Chris Harmanda, George Eracleous and George Gregoriou worked relentlessly to keep LGR on the air.
During late-night raids of the-then pirate radio station, enforcement agencies would confiscate broadcasting equipment. However, Mr Harmanda, together with George Eracleous and George Gregoriou spent endless nights, dangerously on roofs of high-rise buildings, relocating transmitters to ensure that the Greek and Cypriot communities woke every morning to the sounds of LGR.
With his fellow colleagues, Chris spent over five years convincing British broadcasting authorities for a need to have a licensed station to broadcast to the Greek and Cypriot communities of London.
After six years and a great deal of work, London Greek Radio was finally awarded an FM licence and officially joined the airwaves in November 1989.
A victory that meant a lot, because this was Britain’s first-ever licensed ethnic station.
His roles continued at the station as ‘Sales and Marketing Director’ of London Greek Radio from 1989 to 2007.
Chris was a very successful businessman, owning and partnering within a wide range of companies in the Greek and Cypriot communities, mainly ‘Home and Away Estates’ in Finchley Central and Cockfosters.
With his wife Katia, Chris was involved in many charities helping and assisting those in need for many years. To continue this legacy, Chris’ family and close friends have founded, “The Chris Harmanda Foundation” for his memory and his charitable work to continue.
The foundation’s only goal will be to “help less fortunate families during illness.”
Whilst the foundation is being finalised, a temporary page has been set up, https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Chris-Harmanda Chris (Takis) Harmanda passed away peacefully on the afternoon of Friday 2nd March 2018. He was 59 years old.
Mr Harmanda is survived by his wife Katia David Harmanda MBE; his two daughters Loukia and Eleni; his son in law, Mario; his father Giorgos; and his sisters Maroulla and Eva; and his brother Tony.
The funeral will take place on Saturday 17th March at 11.00am at St Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, 21 Trinity Road, Wood Green, London, N22 8LB followed by a burial at New Southgate Cemetery, Brunswick Park Road, London N11 1JJ.
The management and staff of London Greek Radio are all deeply saddened to hear of Chris’ (Takis’) passing and sincerely express their deepest and sincere condolences to the Harmanda family.
May he rest in peace.