MORE than 1,200 people attended a memorial service to pay their respects to former Somerset County Cricket Club chairman Charles Clark, who died last month.

People from across the farming and professional communities, as well as Somerset cricketers and chairmen from clubs across the country celebrated the life of Mr Clark, who was 59, at the event in King's College Chapel last Thursday.

ECB president Ian Lovett, who attended, said: "Charles was not only making his mark for Somerset but creating a significant impression on the national cricketing stage, sadly being stopped in his tracks far too early."

Somerset County Gazette:

Tributes were given by Mr Clark's bother, Francis, former Somerset County Cricket Club chairman Andrew Nash, art restorer Tim Everett,

Mr Clark had been a partner at Greenslade Taylor Hunt, and former colleague Michael Dukes also paid tribute to him.

Lawyer Tim Hayden, of Clarke Wilmott, spoke of Mr Clark's "integrity, wisdom, wit and fairness" and his outstanding auctioneering skills and his his remarkable ability to entice people to purchase items through his hundreds of charity auctions which raised in excess of £2 million over his life.

Mr Hayden added: "Somerset has lost its most charismatic character and the professional community is immensely diminished by his absence."

Somerset County Gazette:

In his address, Diocesan Rural Life Advisor Rob Walrond commented on Charles Clark’s overriding desire through much of his work as a land agent to represent what he considered the underdog.

Mr Clark himself often referred to "people who get up and put their boots on in the morning" and it was an attribute seen in particular through his work representing tenant farmers throughout the area.

A seventh generation agricultural auctioneer from Somerset, Charles Clark was a true man of Somerset, rooted in the county and proud of it.

His widow, Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow also spoke at the memorial, calling him "the greatest man I knew" and their three children also spoke eloquently.

Friends joined to form an impromptu choir directed by Colin Albery, director of music at Kings, while family member Debbie Pow led the prayers.

Donations to be distributed between cancer charities including St Margaret’s Hospice and the Somerset Community Foundation can be sent to funeral directors E. White & Son Ltd, 138–139 East Reach, Taunton, TA1 3HN.