Dedicated community volunteer who helped countless in need remembered

Dermot Wesley-Smith, who spent 40 years with Beccles and District Lions Club.

Dermot Wesley-Smith, who spent 40 years with Beccles and District Lions Club. - Credit: Mark Bee

A man with a "big heart" and "enormous commitment to community life" has been remembered following his death.

Dermot Wesley-Smith, who spent more than 40 years as part of the Beccles and District Lions Club helping countless residents and groups, died last month aged 77.

Born in Dunfermline in Scotland in 1943, Mr Wesley-Smith was a member of the Territorial Army between 1964 and 1976, before moving to Suffolk, where he worked in agricultural sales.

He also began volunteering at the May Centre from 1982, which included a spell as chairman.

During his four decades with the Beccles and District Lions Club, Mr Wesley-Smith served as the club's president, activities and social chair and, for more than 30 years, welfare chair.

Club president Chris Eglinton said: "Dermot had such a big heart for every issue he raised was important and very relevant to him.

"Since its formation in 1969, it would be impossible to say exactly how much Beccles Lions have helped individuals or organisations.

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"However, one thing is certain. Without Dermot's enthusiasm and commitment, along with his selflessness and will to help others, none of this would have ben possible on the scale the club has achieved.

"Dermot has been such an inspiration to us all because you could not ignore his charm, wit and the manner in which he would find a way to overcome any obstacle that stood in his way.

"For if Dermot felt it was the right thing to do and was going to be of help, then nothing would prevent it from being done."

Dermot Wesley Smith recieves the MJF from Beccles Lions president Keith Moore

Dermot Wesley Smith recieves the MJF from Beccles Lions president Keith Moore. - Credit: Beccles Lions

His tireless efforts were recognised by the club in 2016 when he was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship - the highest accolade awarded to a fellow Lion.

Suffolk county councillor Mark Bee said: "He did so much for so many people who benefitted from his enormous energy and commitment to community life, be it raising funds on the Christmas float with the Lions, organising food parcels for the elderly at Christmas, or driving the May Centre bus and so many more things he has done over so many years.

"He will be greatly missed.

"We were close friends and worked together on many community projects."

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