IT'S WITH some sadness that we announce the passing of Alan Trevis Smith, a regularcontributor to the Bugle whose endless enthusiasm andwide knowledge were an asset to so many people and local organisations throughout his lifetime.In recent years Alan was perhaps most prominent for his role as chairman of the Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, an organisation which dedicates itself to the preservation and restoration of some of our most iconic structures.
Notable successes included the eye-catching Harris and Pearson buildings on Brettell Lane,which were restored to their Victorian prime and still turn heads every day. Following that, Alan and the Trust devoted their attention to saving the unique Lye and Wollescote Chapels, a rare example of chapels built for both Church of England and Non-Conformist worshippers.Bugle regulars will also have read about his restoration of a sunken wreck to a fully functioning pleasure boat, the Laurel,which is still in use by the family today.Back in the nineteen-sixties, when Alan was still working for the family firm of Thomas Trevis Smith, the last coopers in Cradley Heath, he was one of a small but zealous group who refused to let our canal system decay into nothingness,organising themselves almost guerilla-style to preserve what was there, and often doing the donkey work themselves — even when the powers that be seemed determined to thwart their efforts. It's thanks in no small part to Alan and his colleagues from the so-called Battle of Stourbridge of 1962 that we are now able to enjoy the clean, fully functioning canal network we have today. In 1997 he was made an MBE for services to inland waterways. Alan died after a short period in hospital. His funeral took place last Friday at Stourbridge Crematorium.