With great sadness, I have to report that Clive Mitchell died this morning [6 April] in hospital having contracted Coronavirus. He was aged 89.
Clive was a bachelor and up until three years ago, lived in the same house in Walthamstow, North London where he born. Although he was something of a loner, happy in his own company, when you got to know him he was an engaging conversationalist with a deep knowledge on many subjects.
Up until he was about 75, he made regular trips to mountainous regions in Europe, where his careful planning enabled him to enjoy walking holidays. He loved reading, especially the classics, biographies but most of all early comedy. Undoubtedly Laurel and Hardy were top of the pile. I can vouch for that because when he moved into a Residential Home in Chingford, he asked me to help him ‘find homes’ for his life-time collection of L & H books, magazines and newsletters
I first met Clive in the early days of ‘The Live Ghost’ tent in London. He later became a ‘Stowaway Sap’ and regularly travelled by himself to attend our meetings in Southend 50 miles from his home. The Sons of the Desert became his family and he became a regular attendee at the UK and European Conventions and other special events. He was not one to participate in the Fancy Dress or Sons Entertain, but he would enjoy every minute of each Convention.
About twelve years ago a few Sons including Clive, stayed at my house overnight before we set off for a Laurel and Hardy event abroad. Clive offered to sleep on the inflatable bed as he had joined our group at the last moment. In the morning, I asked him how he slept and he replied “Not too bad, thank you”. I later discovered that his bed had deflated overnight! Can you imagine what other Sons would have said, but not Clive. He was a true gentleman and a proud Son of the Desert.
Clive Mitchell on the left, helping the Saps At Sea display their banner in Solingen for the Two Tars 25th Anniversary in 2012