Anthony Barrymore Clark: 2nd April 1927 – 16th December 2019
It is wholly appropriate that we should pay tribute to this gentle unassuming Old Veseyan who we knew simply as Tony.
Tony was a long-time supporter of Old Veseyan activities including the Old Veseyan Golf Society, the Old Veseyan Shaggy Dogs and the relatively recent concerts by Vesey Music at the School.
However, as revealed at his funeral on Tuesday 14th January 2020, Tony had many other and varied interests during a rich and rewarding life. The wide variety of involvement and interests was ably demonstrated by the packed congregation who attended the service at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium.
Tony was born in Shirley and the family then moved to Nether Whitacre where he attended primary school. It was at Nether Whitacre that Peter Dartnell and Tony started a lifelong friendship that developed into a love of gardening in a plot of land close to the churchyard. Following a move to Walmley Tony joined Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School. At Walmley he met and became friends with Paul Worthington and John Hopkins where they played as youngsters in the fields near New Hall, building a “gang hut” amongst the “Holy trees” at St John’s Walmley. Tony became a chorister at St John’s.
After completing his schooling, Tony commenced training as an accounts clerk but by the end of the Second World War, Tony was a leading seaman in the Royal Navy and spent a year as a store accountant in Cochin, Kerala, Southern India.
Once demobilised, Tony joined the family business of W. Clark & Co based in the Jewellery Quarter. A major part of Tony’s life began, as many did in those days, at Maney Youth Club where he met Joan whom he married in April 1953.
Joan and Tony had two children, Annette and Graham and Tony was very proud and supportive of his granddaughters, Lucy and Anna.
Above all Tony was an enthusiast for all things practical and mechanical. From making sure family holidays were taken in striking distance of steam railways, rushing water or the open sea. Tony and Joan owned a cottage in Copper Hill Street, Aberdovey where the steam train passed through the top of the garden.
Tony had a keen interest in old cars with many visits to Silverstone, Curborough and Prescott Hill climb, accompanied by wonderful picnics. Motorbikes did not escape Tony’s interest, even taking his family on holiday to the Isle of Man TT races.
Tony was a third generation of family memberships of Walmley Golf Club and played there until he was 85 years old. He similarly partook in Old Veseyan Golf Society meetings often joining up with John Morrison another OV of similar vintage. Tony and Joan also enjoyed their membership of Goldieslie Bowls club.
Tony remained a keen gardener throughout his life and had a good gardening friend in John Ratledge, an OV too.
Tony and Joan would attend many Vesey concerts and Shaggy Dogs annual pre-sports day dinners before Joan sadly passed away in 2017. Tony continued to attend the Shaggy Dogs monthly luncheons and his memberships of Probus, Sutton Arts Theatre, St Paul’s Club and the Octagon Club whilst sustaining his lifelong friendships. He also went on holidays and cruises with his family to Spain, France and Belgium.
Above all Tony was a gentle, kind, courteous, optimistic, witty, loyal and generous gentleman to his family and wide circle of friends.
Sadly, Tony was taken to hospital on 18th of November and his health rapidly deteriorated while he fought cancer bravely. He received outstanding palliative care at St Giles Hospice until he died on 16th December 2019 while Annette and Graham were by his bed side. He will be greatly missed
The Old Veseyan Association, the Shaggy Dogs and Vesey Music will be the poorer for his passing.
With acknowledgements to Graham and Annette for the information that enabled this tribute – Nick Hammond