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Policeman who helped found the Almonry
2:00pm Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
THE family of a founding member of the Almonry Museum have described him as a “force of nature”.
Bob Smith, who died aged 77 on Sunday, October 6, after a long illness, was well known in Evesham, not only for his work in setting up the museum but also as a policeman and market gardener.
Born in South Littleton, Mr Smith’s parents had a market garden where he helped out and during the school holidays he looked after his sisters Annette and Diane. Annette said: “He kept the family together.”
Mr Smith worked as a market gardener, often discovering artefacts, including a Roman coin on an asparagus tip, leading him into a love of history.
He joined the Evesham Antiquarian Society and from this grew the idea of creating a local museum. In 1951, as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations, Mr Smith helped with a temporary display of Vale artefacts.
After this success the town council offered the historic but dilapidated Almonry building to start a museum.
The society spent many months renovating the Almonry in order to arrange an informal display of artefacts they had accumulated or which people had donated to the Vale of Evesham Historical Society.
Mr Smith went on to have his own family with wife Margaret, one daughter and three sons and decided to become a police officer in the Warwickshire Constabulary. He advanced to CID and moved to Shipston where his family lived in the Old Police Station. Later he served at Bidford, Nuneaton, Stratford and Alcester.
On retirement, after 30 years, he moved back to his beloved Vale, rejoined the Vale of Evesham Historical Society, built his home in Littleton where he doted on his family and seven grandchildren.
Speaking about her dad, Angela Smith recalled how he would light up a room when he walked in.
She said: “If he gave you a hug it was a real bear hug. He was a very, very strong character. He was demonstrative; a force of nature. He was always doing something. He would walk into a room and had one of those personalities that everyone would notice him. He was the life and soul of the party.
“There is a big hole now. I was overwhelmed there was such a big turnout at his funeral and everyone said what a great man he was.”
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