A well-known former Felixstowe Port worker and sportsman has died aged 77.

Graham Smart, passed away suddenly on October 25. He has been remembered by his close friend, Dave Ashford.

‘Smarty’, as he was affectionately known, was a respected member of the Felixstowe community, having been born in Trimley, attending Trimley St. Mary Junior School and then Felixstowe Modern, which he left aged 15.

A keen footballer, he joined Felixstowe Town in the early 1960s, playing for the Minors (under 18's) before progressing into the first team.

East Anglian Daily Times: Graham Smart worked at Port of Felixstowe for almost 40 years. Image: Family of Graham SmartGraham Smart worked at Port of Felixstowe for almost 40 years. Image: Family of Graham Smart (Image: Family of Graham Smart)

Graham’s first job was as an apprentice with Eastern Electricity, where he met local Ipswich footballers, among them George Bird, Buster Knock and Barry Fulcher.

In the late 1960's he obtained a position in the rapidly expanding Felixstowe Port, where he worked until his retirement in 2008, after a period of almost 40 years of service.

His dedication to his hometown Felixstowe Football Club continued even after he stopped playing. In 1986 he started the Felixstowe Town under-18 side which competed in the Ipswich & District Sunday Youth Football League. During this time, Graham not only coached the team but drove the bus to away games.

At about the same time, the football club needed to obtain floodlights to remain in the Eastern Counties League. Graham assisted in raising funds towards the lights by going around the clubs and hostelries of Felixstowe in fancy dress with family and friends collecting donations!

He played for several seasons with Felixstowe Harpers, as well as the veterans’ side, Felixstowe Strollers.

He continued to follow Felixstowe & Walton United, attending home games on a regular basis. He was at the home game versus Redbridge on October 24, the day before he passed away.

Graham’s roots in grassroots football go back almost 100 years, as his father, Jimmy Smart, played for Walton Utd in the mid-1920s.

Away from football, he was a member of Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club for 25 years and often participated in local shoots as a gun or beater.

Graham leaves behind wife Jan, sons Paul and Leighton, stepchildren Jo and Daniel and seven grandchildren.

A funeral service will take place on December 7, 2023 at 10.45am, at Walton Church, following a private family cremation.