Tributes paid to Fred Smith - designer of Grimsby's King George V sports stadium
HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to the man responsible for designing Grimsby's King George V Stadium and other town landmarks.
Fred Smith died in his sleep at his Runswick Road home aged 88 years old.
Described by his family as "shy, quiet and hard-working", few will know he was responsible for designing the stadium's track, which was opened as a symbol of great civic pride in 1958.
As the then Grimsby Borough Council's head of parks, Fred also designed the floral and parkland displays at new estates such as the Willows in 1969 and roundabouts at Toothill Road and Bradley.
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Speaking on behalf of the family, his cousin, Terry Stockton, of Grimsby, is only now discovering the full extent of Fred's contribution to Grimsby.
Mr Stockton said: "He was very quiet and very reserved but he was a good man.
"His knowledge of plants and the outdoors was better than anyone I knew and even as a child his mother's garden was immaculate thanks to Fred.
"He was such a talented gardener, right up to the day he died he would be out in his garden.
"Work and his family was his life. He loved his job; he was very proud of it."
With a passion for horticulture, Fred knew everything there was to know about plants and their care and he climbed the ranks of the council ending up being in charge of a team of 16 people.
As plans for King George V Stadium began to form, the council sent Fred on a athletic track designing course.
Meticulously, Fred drew up all the correct measurements and layout, transforming it into a stadium of which the town could be proud.
As well as his work, Fred loved his family.
He married a German woman, Betty, who had two daughters, Erica and Krista, and together they had a son called David, who all live in Grimsby.
Terry said: "We are all very proud of him, he deserves all the respect and recognition we can give. Even though he was the boss he was quite happy to be in the background.
"People will not know when they see the stadium, the shrubs and plants in the roundabouts that it was all down to Fred."