HE was a charismatic optimist who did what he could to help others, despite his advancing years.
A familiar face to many in Southampton Clive Denton was a regular sight on the Common, enjoying his daily walk that helped him to keep fit as he caught up with friends along the way.
But tragically it was during his daily ritual along his usual route through the woodland that the 85-year-old was killed after being trapped by a falling branch from an oak tree.
When he failed to return home his wife Lyn launched a frantic search for her husband of 37 years, cycling around the Common to find him.
But it wasn’t until she phoned the police and they arrived at her home with Clive’s unique hat, which the retired master tailor had made himself, that Lyn, 64, was confronted with the devastating news.
Paying tribute to her husband, who she said was always looking for his next adventure, Lyn said that he always made sure he got the most out of life.
Just last Sunday the grandfather-of-four could be found performing his very own Punch and Judy show at the Lymington Summer Spectacular – and told Lyn that it had been one of the best audiences he had ever had.
She said: “I loved him dearly and there is a great big hole in my life now.
“When I was told the news I just fell apart inside and to be honest I was in denial. Even now I hear a bang at the door and I think that could still be him.
“He lived life right up to the very end.
“I will miss his chattering – he talked non-stop. He was the most charismatic man, who was always the optimist.
“He was always willing to tackle anything and he was always looking for new adventures.
“He just drew people in and when he walked through the Common he used to always stop and speak to people.
“We never had an argument and our life together has been one long honeymoon.”
As previously reported Clive, of Charles Knott Gardens, was killed by a fallen branch from an oak tree which had him trapped for up to 30 minutes.
He was found by a dog walker, who called the emergency services who battled to free him and got him to Southampton General Hospital but tragically despite their best efforts he died on arrival.
Tributes were also paid by his friends. Neighbour Roy Dear, 75, said: “For 85 he was such a fit man. He used to go up to the Common every day doing his walk. He knew most of the people up there who would be walking their dogs.
“He was a smashing bloke.
Five years ago I had a job walking but he used to make sure when he came back from the Common to call in and sit and talk with me.
“He would go round to most people he knew round here if they were on the dodgy side and make sure they had a bit of uplift.
“It is a big shame. We could not believe it because he was so active.”
As reported yesterday, an investigation in to accident has been launched.
Life and times of Clive Denton
ALTHOUGH Clive was born in Oxford and went to the same school as Ronnie Barker there, he spent most of his life in Southampton, having moved to the city after carrying out his National Service
during the war.
In 1949 he headed south to enrol in a tailoring course in Redbridge and stayed in the city.
To many he will be known as the master tailor from Denton and Katz, his thriving business, which he set up with his friend Marcus Katz.
Their award-winning skills soon caught the attention of Southampton Football Club and they were
asked to make the team’s suits during the 1960s.
But their most famous customer was Prime Minister Ted Heath, who requested that they make suits
for him and his Admirals Cup team in 1971.
In 1983 the pair decided to hang up their tape measures and retire but for Clive it was not an
excuse to start taking things easy.
His lifelong passion was sailing and he continued to build boats with the help of his wife Lyn, and they were both active members of Hamble River Sailing Club and the RAF Yacht Club in Hamble.
The couple met almost 40 years ago through a personal ad in the Echo which Clive, who had two
daughters from a previous marriage, and his friend had put in the paper.
Lyn decided to respond and despite a mix up with the mail, which led to Lyn standing him up on
their first date, the pair finally met and within 18 months they were married.
With her help, Clive wrote and published a book about his life adventures and the extraordinary things he had done, which he hoped would provide a legacy for his daughters.
The couple also loved to travel and would venture out in their beloved camper van and even when
they were away, he would always make sure he would get his 30-minute walk that he was so well-known for in Southampton.