A LONG-SERVING councillor who played an integral role in the original Isle of Wight Festivals has died at 95.

Ron Smith was born in Birmingham on December 10, 1924, and died on Boxing Day.

He had lived in a Bembridge care home since 2015.

Mr Smith joined the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, charged with maintaining aircraft across the world.

Having been demobbed in 1946, he married Audrey in 1950, with the couple settling on the Island as farm workers at a tied cottage in Brighstone in 1957.

Moving to Totland — where he would later become an iconic figure — Mr Smith set up Turner-Smith Engineering, a milling and drilling company which was in business for almost three decades, and at one stage employed more than 30 people.

In 1968, Mr Smith began his relationship with the Island's music scene, becoming site director at the original pop festivals in Godshill, Wootton and East Afton Farm from 1968 to 1970.

Mr Smith was involved in a shifting political landscape when he acted as an agent for Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Ross, who became the Island's MP from 1974 until 1987.

In addition, he served as a County Councillor representing areas of Freshwater and Newport for many years.

Clare Griffin, manager of West Wight Sports and Community Centre, said: “Ron was the first chairman of West Wight Swimming Pool Trust, set up in 1976 after a group of Islanders campaigned and raised money to build the first indoor swimming pool on the Island.

“Ron led the volunteers in building the pool and was heavily involved for many years until his retirement as a trustee around 30 years later.

“Ron was tireless in his battles for funding for the pool and for the fair distribution of council funds and resources to the West Wight."

Mr Smith also made significant contributions to Quay Arts, Julia Margaret Cameron Trust and Dimbola Lodge.

He also founded Wight European Student Travel, and ran the Island's World Wildlife Fund (WWF) supporters' group, with his wife, from 1971 until 1996.

Mrs Smith suffered a stroke in 2010 and moved into a care home, where Mr Smith visited her every day until she died on Christmas Day, 2014.

Mr Smith received the honourary freedom of Totland in 2011 for his outstanding services to the area.

He leaves his two daughters, Lesley and Lorna, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial celebration will take place at 3.30pm on Tuesday, January 21, at the New Holmwood Hotel, Cowes.

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