A ‘unique’ former youth club leader who guided and inspired hundreds of young people in Southwick has been remembered for his ‘immense zest for life and community spirit’.
Alfred Baker, who was involved with Quayside Youth Club in Upper Kingston Lane for 30 years, died aged 86 on Christmas Eve after several weeks in hospital.
Mr Baker grew up in Portslade before studying architecture at the Brighton College of Technology and going on to work in the profession.
He met his future wife, Barbara, in 1955 at Southwick’s Methodist Church when it was situated in Albion Street. The pair became the last couple to get married there before it was demolished.
The couple moved to Crossroad in Southwick, where they lived together for 60 years, and had four children – Jill, Mandy, Mark and Annie.
Mr Baker was instrumental in establishing a home for Quayside Youth Club, which grew from humble beginnings in the basement of the Nab Cruising Club at the Quayside at Shoreham Harbour before moving to Southwick Town Hall.
Mr Baker contributed to the club being built in Kingston Lane in 1961 and later rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire.
The club became a refuge for local teenagers to enjoy new activities and Mr Baker ‘encouraged them to fulfil their dreams’, his family said.
“The youth were his passion, he guided so many youngsters,” his family said.
“He helped to make so much fun, he picked them up when they fell and was always there with buckets full of generous encouragement for their independence and individuality.”
Mr Baker later went on to become a photographer of horse driving trials, a job which took him around the world photographing different teams.
He was commissioned by Prince Philip to take photos for his book and even had the opportunity to meet him and the Queen when he was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Mr Baker loved travelling and would take his family around Europe and even Morroco once a year on holiday in a Landrover, trips which his children ‘loved’ and felt ‘privileged’ to have experienced.
He also took youth club members on ‘courageous and adventurous club camping trips’ locally and abroad – sometimes in an old army truck.
Mr Baker continued to ‘cast his spell of adventure and love’ on his ten grandchildren and soon-to-be 11 great-granchildren.
His funeral takes place at Worthing Crematorium on Thursday, January 17, at 10am.
The wake will be held at Quayside Youth Club in Kingston Lane from 11.30am.
Family flowers only, donations to the Sussex MS Treatment Centre in Southwick.