Former town mayor and councillor who pioneered twinning has died

PUBLISHED: 08:28 25 January 2019

Clive Smith died aged 79 before Christmas. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Clive Smith died aged 79 before Christmas. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


A former mayor of Dunmow, who once managed a rubber plant in Malaysia and arranged for the town to be twinned with the capital of a pacific ocean island, has died, aged 79.

Clive Smith served as mayor from 2008-2009 and was a town councillor for many years before that. Mr Smith moved to Dunmow with his wife, Diana, in 1970 after he returned from managing the rubber plantation.

John Davey, who knew Mr Smith for 50 years, said: “He spoke quite fondly of it (his time is Malaysia). He went to a lot of trouble to learn Chinese only to learn when he got there he had learnt the wrong language.”

Mr Smith, who was also a district councillor, returned from the plantation with the intention of getting a £10 boat ticket to Australia, before proposing to Diana, who was less enthusiastic about the move, according to Jill Smith, 45, their daughter.

After leaving school, Mr Smith served in the RAF for two years as part of his national service, which, his family believe, is where his love of flying started.

A collector and trader of antiquarian books, Mr Smith rented rooms out in his Dunmow home to Stansted Airport pilots, forming friendships with those who visited.

Daughter, Jill said: “His love of books and travel drew him to the South Pacific. He spent 20-odd years travelling to increasingly more inaccessible places, leading to many adventures,”

Jill says she has inherited her dad’s love of travelling and, in 2002, after she planned to visit America, he persuaded her to embark on a trip around the world.

Thanks to Mr Smith’s endeavours, Dunmow twinned with the capital of Tuvalu, a South Pacific island. Mr Davey remembers people whose ancestors were from Tuvalu digging a whole in Dunmow’s recreation ground and cooking a hog in it.

The father-of-three “loved Dunmow” and really enjoy being mayor, according to Mr Davey, who added: “he was quite keen that the town council should remain apolitical”.

After returning from Malayasia he worked as a farming advisor.

Mr Smith, who died on December 15, is survived by his three children, Jill, Chris, 44 and Tim, 41.

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