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Tributes paid to a cricket legend, an inspirational headmaster and preacher

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

  • DISTINGUISHED: Archie Smith, a former school headmaster and influential cricketer, has died aged 89.

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Tributes have been paid to a distinguished county cricketing legend and former school headmaster following his death aged 89.

Archie Smith, from Gorran Haven, died on November 1. His funeral was held at a packed St Goran Parish Church on Tuesday.

He was not only a county cricket player, but a former headmaster of Poltair School, former chairman of Cornwall's education committee, preacher and an author.

"He is more than a great cricket legend, he was a distinguished and inspirational headmaster and preacher; a brilliant man who contributed so vastly to society," said author Michael Williams, a 79-year-old cricket lover, historian and friend of Mr Smith.

"And he was a real gentleman cricketer. For example he never appealed for an LBW (leg before wicket) until he was absolutely certain it was necessary.

"He was the kind of man who it was a special occasion to meet and as far as I am concerned he was not only a great friend but he was an important influence and an inspiration."

Mr Smith, who leaves behind his wife, Doreen, was a passionate member of Gorran Cricket Club. He played for Cornwall between 1946 and 1958, making 34 appearances.

A fast bowler, he took 135 wickets at an average of 15, including the third best county figures of 9-49 against Oxfordshire at Penzance in 1953.

He also founded the Cornwall Schools' Cricket Association (CSCA) in 1956 and held office as the first secretary and was the treasurer until 1977.

In 2003 he presented Cornwall Cricket League with a trophy which is awarded annually to the most promising under-19 cricketer.

He was made a senior vice-president of the CSCA and a vice-president of Cornwall Cricket League.

Gorran Cricket Club has won the county championships three times.

In one of those seasons, 1953, Mr Smith led the club to the county title, when he was captain. "Archie was a leader of men. He was inspirational and had a great sense of humour," said Jeff Kendall, 77, who played alongside Mr Smith at Gorran Cricket Club. "He was a great personality and a great role model – very caring and helpful.

"Gorran Cricket Club owes a great deal to him for continuing in their great success over the years."

Reflecting on Mr Smith's teaching legacy, current Poltair head teacher, Stephen Tong, said: "Archie Smith's name and reputation are synonymous with a golden period of education in St Austell.

"In particular, his memory and influence are still keenly felt at Poltair School, among many adults (staff and parents alike) who benefited from being pupils at the school during his stewardship.

"We used yesterday's prize evening to reflect on Archie's life, his achievements and the grand legacy he left for all of us.

"Obviously our thoughts will be with Archie's family and close friends who will be mourning his passing, but, I am sure, also acknowledging the wonder of a very full life well lived."

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