A former headteacher, priest, district councillor and community champion who dedicated his life to helping and serving the people of Harleston, has died aged 72.
The Reverend Clive Hudson lost a four year battle with metastatic prostate cancer on Saturday and tributes have poured in from the community since.
He will be known as being headmaster of the former Dove First School in Harleston for 25 years, from 1977 to 2002, as a voluntary priest for the last ten years, as a South Norfolk councillor for the town, and as chairman of Harleston Information Plus, among many roles.
His wife of 51 years, Olive, told the Diss Express on Wednesday: “He was the love of my life. We did so much together, we were best friends.”
His family spoke of his great love of Harleston, and his passion for serving and helping others.
Mr Hudson leaves two daughters, Lucy and Rachael, and three grandchildren.
Rachael said her father made the most of his life with cancer: “He made the most of every day,” she said.
“He got up and tried to get on. He loved to have a purpose and to be useful.
“He battled through all the pain and was still so nice to everyone.”
Roger Walsh, headteacher of Harleston Primary School, worked closely with Rev Hudson for the last 11 years, and described him as an “inspiration” and instrumental in pushing forward the quality of education and the learning environment for schoolchildren both at the primary school and the high school.
Mr Walsh said: “He was someone we all looked up to and we respected his advice and guidance. I would meet Clive regularly for pastoral support.
“It is a difficult job being headteacher, and he recognised that. His death leaves a massive hole in our lives.”
Mr Walsh said the combining of the former Dove First School and Canon Pickering School into single a primary school was something that Rev Hudson firmly believed was right and he helped facilitate the change.
Norfolk born, he began work at the former Norwich Union, where he met his future wife. But there he decided his calling in life was teaching.
He eventually took the post of Dove First School head, aged 35, retiring at 60. He was also president of the Norfolk division of the National Union of Teachers, helping to improve conditions for staff.
Teachers have written to the family to pay tribute to Rev Hudson.
One said: “I owe him so much for starting me off on my teaching career and for always believing in me.”
A man of strong faith, he became ordained as a priest in 2004.
He led numerous services and was regularly requested to officiate at Christenings, weddings and funerals.
Rev Nigel Tuffnell of the Redenhall and Scole Benefice, who worked with Rev Hudson, said: “He was one of the kindest, most caring people I knew.
“He was a very strong character and loved by everybody.
“He was very competent, able, and a pleasure to work with as a priest, and as a friend as well.
“He was a man of immense faith - he knew where he was going.”
The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James has written to the family personally to offer condolences, and praise Rev Hudson’s committed church service.
Other community roles played by Rev Hudson included being a member of the Diocesan Board of Education, supporting churches, schools and communities across the areas of Norfolk and the Waveney Valley.
He was a lifelong Norwich City supporter, played himself for many local teams up to the age of 47, and became chairman of Harleston Town Football Club for a period.
Barry Woods, chairman of Harleston Town Council, said: “I came across Clive quite frequently because he was involved in so many good things.
“He was an incredible chap - the people of Harleston are really going to miss him. He is the epitome of what I would like Harleston to be - talking to everyone, and pulling together and doing the right things.”
Rev Hudson’s funeral is on Monday, July 7, 2.30pm at St Mary’s church, Redenhall.
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