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News > Obituaries > Keith A Smith MBE (OB 1974-1981)

Keith A Smith MBE (OB 1974-1981)

16 Jul 2021
Written by Jos Hollington

Keith Andrew Smith MBE (OB 1974-81) died of cancer on Sunday 4th April 2021.

His time at Brentwood saw him rise to be Deputy Head Boy, Head of Newnum and he fenced to a very high standard, including for the England U18 foil team and in 1980 won the Public Schools foil championship, coming second at épée and third in the sabre. After an ESU trip to the United States for a year, he then went to university in Birmingham to study History and Politics.

In 1985, with a BA Honours degree, Keith joined the history department of Whitgift School directly from university. He remained there for the rest of his life, rising to become Head of History and Politics. He committed himself to the school’s CCF, which he joined in 1986, retiring in 2019 as a Lieutenant Colonel after some 14 years as its commander. He set up cadet force partnerships with two local maintained schools and he and a handful of senior regular officers formed an MOD working party on such partnerships with a highly successful outcome. It was this project that led to his deserved appointment as an MBE.

In 2000 Keith was elected British Fencing President and went on to lead the organisation through twelve years of unprecedented change and growth. He was also an outstanding referee, officiating at épée finals at three Olympics - Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000; and at every World Championships from 1990 until 2000, when he was ‘kicked upstairs’, to the FIE’s Refereeing Commission, acting as a refereeing delegate at the 2008 and 2012 Games. 

In 2012 Keith stood down from the presidency to devote more time to his career, his family and serving his local community. He was awarded British Fencing’s gold medal and honoured with the role of British Fencing Vice-President.

He is survived by his wife, Karina, whom he met at the Barcelona Olympics and married in 1994. His funeral was on 4th May in Lingfield and he was cremated in Tunbridge Wells and his ashes are interred in Somerset.



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