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'We were gobsmacked, hundreds of people sent cards': Touching family tribute to Woodbridge man Richard Smith

PUBLISHED: 07:30 27 June 2019

Richard Smith died on March 14, 2019, after suffering a heart attack at his family home Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Richard Smith died on March 14, 2019, after suffering a heart attack at his family home Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

The family of a Suffolk man who died of a heart attack say they are overwhelmed at the incredible response from the community he worked so hard to support.

The staff at the Leiston East of England Co-operative made a tribute to Mr Smith. Customers filled two books of rememberance with well wishes for his family Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILYThe staff at the Leiston East of England Co-operative made a tribute to Mr Smith. Customers filled two books of rememberance with well wishes for his family Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Hundreds of cards and dozens of flowers were sent to Malcolm and Stella Smith after their son, Richard Ivan Smith, died of a heart attack, aged just 43.

The much loved brother of Paul and Mark and friend to Laura was found by his mother at his family home in Ransom Road, Woodbridge, on the morning of March 14, 2019.

Mr Smith, 69, his father, said: "He never made a fuss about anything and always wanted to help anyone.

"We always thought he was a quiet man, he never wanted to be in the limelight for his actions. Then we received more than 100 cards, bunches and bunches of flowers - we were gobsmacked how everyone turned out for him.

Richard Smith with his mother Stella, father Malcolm and brothers Paul and Mark Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILYRichard Smith with his mother Stella, father Malcolm and brothers Paul and Mark Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

"It took me several attempts to write the tribute that was going in the paper," Mr Smith continued.

"It was so hard to write for obvious reasons, but also to thank everyone who had contacted us."

After attending Farlingaye High School, Mr Smith went into the retail industry at the age of 16, spending his entire life working for the East of England Co-op.

He climbed the ladder to become assistant manager in Leiston, taking part in every charity event and fancy dress day along the way.

Mr Smith was a popular figure in the Leiston East of England Co-operative, where he worked as assistant manager Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILYMr Smith was a popular figure in the Leiston East of England Co-operative, where he worked as assistant manager Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Fundraisers organised by friend Angela Peck and his peers raised £5,565.64 in total for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, a charity he had supported every month after seeing their paramedics in action in Leiston several times.

His father said he would miss their conversations about football.

"I think what I'll miss most is the banter," Mr Smith said.

"He's always been a Spurs fan and I'm a life-long Liverpool fan, so we could always give each other a hard time."

Mr Smith struck it lucky with his colleages at the East of England Co-operative, scooping over £300,000 as a syndicate, as reported in the East Anglian Daily Times Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILYMr Smith struck it lucky with his colleages at the East of England Co-operative, scooping over £300,000 as a syndicate, as reported in the East Anglian Daily Times Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Chris Pain, store manager at the Leiston shop, said: "Looking out for customers' needs was what Richard did best.

"He understood the community we worked in.

"He knew we belonged to that community and he would be so proud of the amazing amount of money that has been raised in his memory for the East Anglian Air Ambulance."

The staff and customers in Leiston filled two books of remembrance with their thoughts and sympathies for Mr Smith.

Mr Smith's family have been overwhelmed with flowers and cards since he died earlier this year Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILYMr Smith's family have been overwhelmed with flowers and cards since he died earlier this year Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, described Richard as "the kindest and most considerate person I've ever met".

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said: "Richard worked for the Society from the age of 16 and always demonstrated a caring and considerate attitude and went far beyond what was expected of him.

"I can truly say he was the kindest and most considerate person I've ever met."

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