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29th Jun, 2022

Hunt for family of former town Beadle

Maisie Jeynes 18th Jul, 2017

A PAINTING of a former town Beadle could be handed over to his living relatives – if they can be found.

Alison King’s grandfather Lt Col Gerald Furtado painted the portrait of Robin Smart in 1989 and it has remained in her family ever since.

But Alison has decided the painting of Robin in his ceremonial uniform as Beadle – the mayor’s personal officer who attends formal and civic occasions – would be better in the care of his own family.

Mr Furtado, who died aged 95 in 2008, was a member of both Stratford arts and choral societies, and Alison thinks this might be how he knew Mr Smart.

She also had another nugget of interesting information: “My mum says he was the Beadle, and the Salmon Tail pub was renamed The Beadle after him and then changed back after he died.”

After posting a photo of the painting on the Stratford Forum Facebook group, she was inundated with more facts about the apparently familiar face.

Many said he was a local policeman and his wife a nurse.

It is also reported he was a choirmaster and organist at a church in Alveston, with a former student of his saying: “One year he took us all to a palace for three days of music training. It is the only time I’ve spent the night in a palace!”

Another added: “I remember Mr Smart coming into my parents’ chippy often. He was a good regular, and a good chap. His voice bellowing when the Christmas lights got turned on was legendary.”

Alison, who has recently returned to the UK from New Zealand, is helping her mother sort through various collections in the family home, following the death of her father Don Fraser last year.

This painting could be the first of many to be reunited with relatives. Alison explained: “We still have a whole box of unframed portraits to go through!”

Despite the local memories of Mr Smart, Alison is yet to get in contact with anyone from his family.

Visit the Stratford Forum Facebook page to share any information that could help Alison with her search.

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