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Obituary of Vince Clarke

British fan Vince Clarke has died following a long illness

Vince Clarke died early on Sunday 29 November, having been ill for some time.

Vince had been a fan for longer than many of us, including me, have been alive. He was a fanwriter, artist, fanzine collector, magazine collector, historian, cataloguer and many other things. He was the first winner of TAFF, the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, but was never able to make the trip to the States that he so richly deserved. He was the Fan Guest of Honour at Intersection, the 1995 Worldcon.

But he will be remembered in British fandom for himself as much as for his many accomplishments. He was unfailingly kind and patient, and was always ready to help newcomers find their way into fandom. He was one of our few remaining links with earlier fannish generations, and he will be sorely missed.

Steve Green adds:

It would be tragically easy for 1990s sf fans to underestimate the debt they owe A Vincent Clarke, who died on 29 November following a lengthy illness. Vince's decades-long self-imposed exile in the wake of his marital break-up ensured his name remained virtually unknown to those entering fandom in the late 1960s and 1970s, and it is likely this injustice would have persisted had newcomer Terry Hill not spotted his name and address in an old fanzine and decided to chance a visit.

But during 1950-52, Vince and Ken Bulmer shared one of fandom's legendary addresses: 84 Drayton Park, London, aka "The Epicentre". Two years later, he won the first British TAFF race, but was sadly unable to afford the trip, and distributed the very first "quotecards" at Supermancon. A vocal proponent of moves to set up the first British Science Fiction Association and a founder member of OMPA (Britain's first sf amateur press association), Vince also established an extensive fanzine library and placed safeguards in his will to ensure it avoided the fate of so many such collections before it.

However, his greatest memorial is undoubtedly the generosity of heart he exhibited towards all those earned his friendship; indeed, Martin Tudor and I would have been unable to produce the early issues of Critical Wave without his aid. The goodwill he amassed was finally reflected in the 1995 worldcon's naming of Vince as its fan guest of honour; no one has ever been more worthy of that tribute.

-- Mike Scott

29 Nov 1998

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