Charles Simeons: Former MP and charitable Rotary club stalwart

Charles Simeons of Cley-Next-the-Sea.  © 2009 (01603) 772435 Charles Simeons of Cley-Next-the-Sea. © 2009 (01603) 772435

Thursday, August 7, 2014
2:37 PM

Former MP, Rotary club stalwart, and Kelling Hospital campaigner Charles Simeons has died, aged 92.

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Charles Simeons (Second row 4th left)© 2007 (01603) 772434Charles Simeons (Second row 4th left)© 2007 (01603) 772434

The Second World War veteran was heavily involved in local affairs near his home town in Cley where he had lived for 20 years.

He founded the Friends of Pensthorpe Waterfowl Trust, had been a Justice of the Peace and president of the Luton and District chamber of commerce..

Service committee chairman for the Rotary Club of Holt and District Roger Percival said he had been one of the most active members of the club.

He said: “He was a lovely person and he used every minute to the full. He is a great loss to the club and he will be sorely missed.”

With a keen interest in sport, he was a Norwich City season ticket holder, enjoyed cricket and would often visit Lords cricket ground.

His charitable nature led him to raise money for Kelling Hospital and fight to keep it open when it was under threat about 10 years ago.

An expert in environmental issues, for 23 years, until he retired in 2003, he organised conferences in London and Washington DC on the control of new chemicals.

Mr Simeons was born in 1921 in London, and spent his early years near Watford in Hertforshire, before attending Oundle school in Northamptonshire.

After four terms at Cambridge, his university career was cut short when he was called up to the Royal Artillery, spending six months at Catterick, before being posted to Holt to join the 5nd Field Regiment RA.

Within three weeks the regiment sailed for the Middle East, to Iraq, Syria, the Lebanon and Alexandria.

From there he went to Italy before being posted back to the UK to become an air observation pilot, but war finished before he completed his training.

Mr Simeons married his first wife Rosemary in 1945, and was posted to HQRA East Africa Command where he remained for a year before returning to the UK at the end of four years abroad.

In 1947 he returned to Cambridge to complete a wartime degree in Natural Sciences, before entering the family business in Luton, making photographic gelatine.

The firm was sold in 1960 but he remained managing director until 1970 when he was elected MP for Luton.

He was master of the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers of London and a member of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators.

He was honourable secretary of the 8th Indian Division and 52nd Field Regiment’s Officers Association, organising their annual reunions.

After Rosemary’s death in 1991 he married Connie, whom he had known for 40 years.

His son Peter said his father was sharp witted, and remained mentally alert until his death: “He was a person who once he decided something was a good cause he would follow it right through and he was a real leader.

“Everyone loved him and respected him and he was always active and making jokes.”

He leaves behind Peter and a daughter Jennifer, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St Andrew’s Church in Holt at 2pm on Thursday August 28.

Any donations in his memory can be made to the Royal Artillery Benevolent Fund c/o Peter Taylor, Haysall House, Station Road, Holt.

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