Martin Henry Smith was born in Oldham, Lancashire on November 2 1934. He attended Heronwater School in North Wales and later followed his brother Alan to Sherborne. He gained an English Speaking Union Scholarship to Tabor Academy, Massachusetts for the academic year 1952/3 travelling to the States aboard the liner Queen Elizabeth and returning aboard the Queen Mary. It provided a certain culture shock moving from an English Public School in 1952 to an American Private School particularly from the point of view of the food and facilities available. Tabor Academy was endowed by the US Navy and students wore naval uniform. The Academy owned a Sail Training Schooner, Tabor Boy, and all students were required to spend time aboard which kindled an interest in sailing. Martin did well in English and History and was offered a full scholarship at Harvard but decided to return home in 1953, where after a difficult period of adjustment he undertook a textiles training course. He was employed on the sales side firstly by Fine Spinners and Doublers and later by Viyella under Jo Hyman working in Lancashire, London and Suffolk. In 1971 he joined a London Textiles Agency selling, on commission, textiles from Europe, Africa and the Far East into this country. In 1982 he formed his own Textiles Agency and was successful until his retirement in 1997.
During this time his interests were sailing, singing and tennis all of which he enjoyed in retirement. He campaigned Flying Fifteens in Suffolk and Cowes. Trips aboard Tabor Boy to the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1995 and to the Virgin Islands in 1996 led to an interest in Tall Ships Adventures which he enjoyed off the coasts of Brittany, New England and Norway.
Choral Singing initially took the form of joining a local choir and performing the classical repertoire. Later he became the first Musical Director of a Barbershop Harmony Chorus, the Kings of Herts.
The tennis club in Harpenden of which he was a member attained its Centenary in 2006 and Martin was asked to write a history to be published for the occasion. The project entailed some five years of research and interviewing which he thoroughly enjoyed and culminated in the publication of a hardback, “Advantage Harpenden”, at the end of 2005. He felt a great sense of achievement and realised that his studies at Heronwater, Sherborne and Tabor had come full circle.
Above all Martin was a great family man. He died suddenly whilst enjoying himself playing tennis on May 18 2007 leaving a wife, Julia, three children, Clare, Simon and Kate and eight grandchildren. Greatly missed.