When his beloved dad died earlier this year aged 69, Bognor Regis children’s entertainer Nick Clark was for once without a smile.
Bob Clark was Chichester born and bred and Nick said everyone knew him.
“Linda, my mum, ran the riding stables at Apuldram and Dad was a blacksmith and farrier there. He and mum worked alongside each other for 50 years, having met in Selsey when she took her horses to him to be shod.”
Working at Males Steel Fabrications in Selsey and completing his apprenticeship locally at Smith and Jewell, Bob married Linda in 1974. Completing their happiness with two sons, Bob was a typical country man.
“When I was a boy, he taught me all the country ways and traditions. He loved this area, especially the sea,” said Nick, explaining that Bob had served briefly in the Navy.
“And as a member of the lifeboat crew in Selsey for many years, he had loads of friends among the fishermen down there.
“He also had a very dry sense of humour and he loved a pint and a chat in the pub. At Apuldram, his office genuinely was at The Crown and Anchor!”
Hero worshipping his dad, Nick was initially anxious about telling Bob that he wanted to be a clown and entertainer, not a farrier.
“But he became my biggest fan and he used to take me to my jobs. There’s no doubt he would be chuffed to be in the paper, he was always the first one to go and buy the Observer whenever I was in it.”
Told just before Christmas that his cancer was terminal, Bob was looked after by St Wilfrid’s Hospice for four weeks before his death.
“I can’t praise the team there enough,” said Nick, who was delighted that so many well-wishers attended the funeral, held in the church at Apuldram where Bob had made a lot of the metalwork.
“They couldn’t all fit in the church and my family would like to say thank you to everyone who supported us and Dad. He was a man who inspired great friendship and he leaves behind so many wonderful memories.
“Every year, Dad played Father Christmas down the stables for the children but otherwise he wasn’t a natural one for the limelight. In many ways he was a very private man.”
A life rich in in love and laughter, Bob Clark is sadly missed and fondly remembered by many.
Family friend Kate Saunders said: “There was always that quiet smile and a twinkle in his eye which gave away the wicked sense of humour. He really was a unique man and much loved.”
Nick Clark has hosted several fundraising events for St Wlfrid’s Hospice this year, the last of which will be a Hallowe’en disco and magic show on October 28 at Tangmere Village Centre. Tickets £3.50/£2 from Heygates Bookshop, 67 High Street, Bognor. Telephone: 01243 862287.
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