‘Pillar of community’ Arthur dies, aged 85

102 pensioners from the estate are being treated to a free diner and beer thanks to grants from council at Anselm Avenue, Mildenhall Road estate, Bury St Edmunds''Pictured - l/r - Arthur Smith with Mayor Bob Cockle

102 pensioners from the estate are being treated to a free diner and beer thanks to grants from council at Anselm Avenue, Mildenhall Road estate, Bury St Edmunds''Pictured - l/r - Arthur Smith with Mayor Bob Cockle

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TRIBUTES have poured in for ‘pillar of the community’ Arthur Smith, who has died aged 85.

Mr Smith, of Bury St Edmunds, devoted his life to local causes and has been dubbed ‘Mr Mildenhall Road Estate’ for his tireless work in the neighbourhood.

He served as chairman of the estate’s residents’ association since its formation and helped to found the Anselm Avenue Community Centre 60 Plus Club.

Bob Cockle, St Edmundsbury borough councillor for St Olaves ward, who knew him for more than 25 years, said: “Nobody can replace him as he was so full of enthusiasm. He not only spent a lot of time in joining the community together but arranging Christmas parties and functions. He was the driving force. ”

Ernie Broom, who worked with Mr Smith in the post office, said: “He was a pillar of the community and was respected by everyone. I would call him Mr Mildenhall Road Estate. He was a really nice man.”

Mr Smith spent about 41 years at the post office, starting aged 14 as a telegram boy.

During the World War Two, he fought with the Grenadier Guards in Germany and Holland and in 2005 received a medal from Dutch authorities for his valour.

Mr Smith was a fund-raiser for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and a welfare officer for the Old Comrades Guards Association. He was the vice-chairman of the Post Office and BT pensioners group and eventually took on the role of chairman.

Mr Smith was also involved with Havebury Housing Partnership and its chief executive Karen Mayhew described him as a ‘huge character’.

Jane Chance, senior health and community development officer at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “He was always a gentleman with a cheeky sense of humour and someone we will remember for a long time to come.”

His wife Hilda died aged 78 in 2003 and he leaves two daughters Janet Gurnett, 63 and Wendy Dyer, 52. He also had a daughter Lilian, who died aged 39.

Mrs Gurnett said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the tributes we’ve had and it’s lovely that people think so much of him.”