logo Clive Stevens

Died on Friday 16th November, Clive Stevens, one of those many unsung heroes who did and do so much to organise and support events, individuals and, indeed, causes.  Few of you will ever have known about the short-lived Tradition Club in Newbury around 1979-1980 that Clive helped run and, more to the point at that time, also helped to subsidise.  His encouragement was always valued and one took heart for the future.  So that there may be more who recall the best-kept secret gathering of all, the Downs Festival of Traditional Singing (formerly Waterside) that flourished between 1978 and 1990 and then, once or twice after, where Clive and his wife, Jo, could be seen, often in charge at the bar.  What most people would not have realised was how much effort Clive and Jo put into the preliminary organisation and then the smooth running (aka potential and hilarious shambles) of proceedings; nor would they be aware of the wonderful hospitality that Clive and Jo offered principally to singers (ask Will Noble) and often to strays - latterly (in time, that is), in particular, as they provided a permanent base for Fred Jordan who was, by then, a regular.  And Clive was always on hand during the often tedious business of clearing up, sometimes over several days.  More with unfailing courtesy, he would have contacted beforehand all those in Hermitage (Berkshire) and elsewhere, such as the local WI members; would have seen to their welfare during proceedings; and, naturally, was sure to bike round and revisit people with thanks.

This was typical of the man.  He never stinted in his efforts in so many small ways.  The Wixey side in Bampton will know this; and practically adopted Clive and Jo, Clive himself as ad hoc traffic warden.  It was never a question of Clive thrusting himself forward into any limelight, but of his being always at hand.

He was a great mate of our dearly-loved friends Colin Bathe and Curly Tichener both during the Whitsuntide celebrations in Bampton and very much in between times; and to such as Ted and Ivy Poole at the Swindon Folk Singers Club.  Relationships were always easy, heart-warming - and fun.

Again: his knowledge and appreciation of traditional music (and, perhaps, one should add, beer) from all over the British Isles was second to none: encyclopaedic, never myopic.  He carried learning lightly, was judicious and enterprising in assembling his pantheons (and, be it said, not just in terms of traditional cultures), not one - to my knowledge - to put down anybody even when his opinions were contrary.  He claimed never to have been a musician himself (could be heard, though, joining in the Aldworth Mummers'song during his long reign as Doctor between 1979 and 2010) and always properly (and not sycophantically) deferred to those whom he judged to be the more knowledgeable.  One will always remember his admiration of the fiddler, Lucy Farr, during her domicile near to Newbury; and the care he took of her on countless occasions

Throughout the time I knew him, from 1977 until now, his sparkling wit was ever entertaining, his presence as friend ever practical, stimulating and comforting.  Singers, musicians and dancers, from Rothbury, Northumberland to the southern counties and even unto the west of Ireland, especially those who happened to be in residence or visiting his beloved Berkshire downs area, will testify to this.

The memories are precious for, ultimately, Clive was a true gentleman.

I've just heard that Clive's funeral will be at Thatcham Crematorium at 12:45 on Wednesday 12th December.

Roly Brown - 26.11.12
Oradour sur Vayres, France.

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