4th July 2019
It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the death of Brian Clifford early this morning, following a short illness.
Brian was a very special person: he was simply the kindest man, and a man more generous with his time would be difficult to find.
His involvement in the community goes back many decades, both as a member of the Territorial Army, a well-respected businessman, a Rotarian, an active member of the church, trustee of numerous charities including the Red Hill Trust, a member of the Maidstone Club and also the Faversham and Mid Kent Conservatives’ Association, and a regular volunteer to the Maidstone Winter Shelter. We simply focus on his time with the Society.
Brian knew everyone and one of his great strengths was his ability to motivate people.
In 2005 Brian became deeply involved in the Society, together with David Cockerham, at a time when it was on the verge of disbanding. Brian took over as Chairman from Heather Langley that year, with David becoming Vice Chairman and Secretary, and together they brought about a renaissance in the fortunes of the Society, increasing its membership from 114 to 1156 in a few months by designing and hand delivering a leaflet to every household in the two civil parishes. Four newsletters each year were written and printed, and then parcelled up for a number of road stewards to distribute. This method of communication continued for several years.
Nothing was too much trouble for Brian. Together with others he would scrutinise every planning application in Bearsted and Thurnham and, when appropriate, he would attend both parish council and Maidstone Borough Council meetings, speaking on behalf of either individuals or the whole community. For many years he arranged a stall, including a tombola, at the Bearsted and Thurnham Fayre.
When the greatest threat to Bearsted since the Second World War in the form of proposals for Kent International Gateway hit the community, he became an extremely active committee member for StopKIG. During these years he visited the Midlands to take night time photographs of multiple distribution centres at motorway junctions to demonstrate the impact on the community, put up a large number of posters, researched how residents felt and ultimately presented the case on ‘Harm to the Community’ during the lengthy Planning Inquiry in 2009. He remained part of the organisation which closed with a public celebration of success on Bearsted Green the following September.
Brian was involved in consultations around the Core Strategy which ultimately became the Local Plan.
Wishing to reduce his public role somewhat in the Society, Brian became joint Vice Chairman with Roger Vidler for a number of years during which he devoted endless hours to the Society before finally stepping down from that role and the committee in 2014.
He remained in touch, though, and was always ready to provide advice on any local matter.
For many years he chaired the committee which assessed submissions to Bearsted Parish Council for the Alfred Mynn awards, and in 2009 was surprised to receive an Alfred Mynn award himself.
Brian’s life continued to involve many acts of kindness right up until his recent admission to hospital and he will be sorely missed.
He will leave a huge hole in the community and our heartfelt condolences go to Jill, his children and grandchildren.
Bearsted and Thurnham Society Committee