James Maddison Clark a.k.a. Jimmy Clark was one half of the glorious Clark Brothers and died in Dunstable on Friday 30 October 2009 at the age of 87, with his dear brother Steve at his side. Although I knew of Jimmy’s poor health it didn’t lessen the shock of hearing about the loss of another great tap dancer, who was kind, fun and supportive in the few times I saw him. My sympathies go to Steve whom I can barely understand the pain of losing someone so close and special in one’s life.
Today I attended the Service and reception of A Celebration for the Life of James Maddison Clark (23rd July 1922 – 30 October 2009) in Dunstable. The service was held at the gorgeous Priory Church in Dunstable at 12.30pm. Jimmy’s close brother Steve, members of his family, friends and those whose lives he had touched filled the church to attend the service and show their love and support. It was a beautiful and moving service with hymns, prayers, a reading and tributes to Jimmy from his family and members of The Grand Order of Water Rats.
As well as refreshments the reception provided the space for old friends to catch up, new friends to meet. Old memories and stories were shared and new ones created, all under the shadow of Jimmy’s living memory. Steve was sure Jimmy would have been pleased at the proceedings and had a warm and giving smile, though touched by sadness.
Before leaving Dunstable for the 2 hour drive back to London I went, with several tap friends, to visit Jimmy’s grave. We soon realised that it might turn into an impossible task with the fading light and lack of directions. But whilst walking through the cemetary, amongst the many burial sites and plots and having no idea where we needed to go, we somehow found ourselves at Jimmy’s grave. After paying respects we headed back to our cars whilst reflecting on the seemingly miraculous occurence of actually finding Jimmy’s final resting place in the early dark and cold of a November evening.
Jimmy’s warm, kind heart will be remembered as much as the fantastic joy he brought through dancing.
In their time of grief, with curteous nods, sad smiles and kind words, Steve and his family expressed their gratitude to those who paid their respects to Jimmy.
- Showbiz legend Jimmy Clark dies
- Obituary in The Guardian
- Obituary in The Stage
- Obituary in The Telegraph
Donations in his memory may be made, if desired, to the
Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund
Please make cheques payable to “E.A.B.F”
and forward to
c/o White Dove Funerals
50 High Street South