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Obituary: Clive Bowring – dedicated conservationist and former president of New Forest Show

TRIBUTES have been paid to Clive Bowring, a former president of the New Forest Show, who has died at the age of 85.

Clive took over the reigns of the popular event in 2011 and is remembered for his “enthusiasm and passion”.

Denis Dooley, chief executive of the show, said: “He was a lovely popular man – always so genuinely interested and helpful.”

Clive Bowring
Clive Bowring

Clive had moved to Fritham in the 1980s, settling into Butlers Farm.

He was keenly committed to the preservation of the Forest and became very involved with local organisations and charities that supported ancient land management practices and commoning.

When he heard that the 17th century Royal Oak pub in Fritham was in danger of closing in 1998, for example, he promptly bought it. Clive also restored village barns and cottages using local builders and craftsmen.

He was praised by Mary Montagu-Scott who remembered his work for the New Forest Ninth Centenary Trust, which she chairs.

The charity, of which he was a trustee until 2011, was set up to run the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst.

Mrs Montagu-Scott described Clive as a “people person” – a facet that was demonstrated when he financially supported a young person working at the library to go to university

Mrs Montagu-Scott said: “He was such a gentleman, always charming in every way and very genuine in his care and interest of the New Forest.

“We shall miss him greatly and remember him with fondness and respect for all he did.”

Clive was also praised by David Humbert, committee member of the Friends of the New Forest conservation group, for “his well-known dedication to contributing to the protection and restoration of the unique character of the New Forest and, in particular, the village of Fritham”.

He added: “He was greatly appreciated for his generosity, vitality and thoughtfulness in supporting the aims of the association.”

Born during the Second World War, Clive was evacuated from Kent with his mother to Crackington Haven in Cornwall and also to Westward Ho! in North Devon.

There he remembered watching trials on the beach of the Great Panjandrum – a massive, rocket-propelled, explosive-laden cart used during the war.

Educated privately at Rugby School he joined the Royal Navy in the 1950s, serving aboard HMS Vanguard and HMS Ark Royal.

After leaving the services, Clive joined the family insurance and banking firm of C.T. Bowring in 1960, established by his great-great-grandfather.

In 1980 the firm was acquired by New York-based Marsh and McLennan after which Clive decided to set up the company RFIB which is now one of the largest London-based insurance brokers.

But it was in the Forest that he was most content. A keen sailor, he also enjoyed “mucking about” on the Solent in a motor boat, according to family.

Clive also loved travelling and visiting his many cousins across the UK and the world. His family said he had “great charm and a wonderful sense of humour”.

He leaves a sister, Juliet, who lives in Winchester. His funeral service is at Romsey Abbey today (Friday) at 12.30pm.

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