Hotelier was Cold War spy

Michael Prada was highly regarded as a hotelier and as a member of a well-known Morecambe family.

But many may be unaware that Michael was also a Cold War hero who was hailed for his skills as an unwitting spy.

Michael Prada interviewed on regional news about his former role as a Cold War spy.

Michael Prada interviewed on regional news about his former role as a Cold War spy.

Michael, who has died aged 77, was called up for National Service in 1957 while in his late teens.

He had an aptitude for languages and was selected by the RAF to train as a Chinese linguist.Michael was then stationed at a listening post in Hong Kong where he served for two years as Chinese linguist and interpreter.

Due to the suspected threat from Communist China at that time it was necessary for the British military to covertly monitor the Chinese Air Force. His task was to listen to Chinese military radio communications and unbeknown to him he was ‘spying on the enemy’.

It was almost 50 years later when military documents became public that the importance of his work was acknowledged, when he and fellow servicemen were recognised at an unveiling of a plaque in Gloucestershire.

A plaque at R.A.F. Pucklechurch unveiled in 2006 paying tribute to the work of Michael Prada and his colleagues.

A plaque at R.A.F. Pucklechurch unveiled in 2006 paying tribute to the work of Michael Prada and his colleagues.

Michael was born on April 26 1938 in Ayrshire, Scotland.

The family moved to Liverpool and relocated to Morecambe during the Second World War.

After his National Service, Michael returned to Morecambe to join the family business and along with his brother Louie and sister Yolanda Ottonello ran the well-known and popular Strathmore Hotel for many years, when he worked hard to promote the hospitality industry in the local area. Michael was also a keen sailor who actually built his own boat, which he often sailed in the Lakes and on Morecambe Bay,

He later relocated to Norfolk and lived there happily for over 25 years. After a brave battle with cancer, he passed away on September 17.

The Strathmore Hotel in Morecambe during the time when it was run by the Prada family.

The Strathmore Hotel in Morecambe during the time when it was run by the Prada family.

He is survived by his wife Heidi, sons Mark, Mikey and GianPaolo, daughters Giulia, Michelle and Rosanna, and his six grandchildren.