Tributes paid to former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth

FORMER MAYOR Sir Alfred Blake
FORMER MAYOR Sir Alfred Blake
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A FORMER Lord Mayor of Portsmouth has died in his South Carolina home.

Sir Alfred Blake, aged 98, was born in Gosport and studied at Dauntsey’s School in Wiltshire.

FORMER MAYOR Sir Alfred Blake pictured in 2003

FORMER MAYOR Sir Alfred Blake pictured in 2003

He began training to be a solicitor in 1933 and obtained his bachelor of laws degree from London University in June 1938 and qualified as a solicitor in the same year.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Mr Blake decided to volunteer for service and was one of 14 in the first batch of civilians to be commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the Royal Marines.

His daughter Carey Blake said: ‘My father had a variety of appointments and experiences during the Second World War until the Royal Marine Commandos were formed in 1943.

‘Throughout most of 1944 he was Brigade Major of two Commando Brigade which saw action in Italy and then in Yugoslavia. For three months Marshal Tito was just a few hundred yards away in the same valley and for his courage in action, he was decorated with the Military Cross.’

On demobilisation, Mr Blake was involved in developing the Royal Marines Association which supports past and present Marines and their families.

In 1948 Alfred rejoined Blake Lapthorn, the law form which had been started by his grandfather in 1869. He remained a partner until retirement as senior partner in 1985, continuing as a consultant until 1999.

But during that time, Mr Blake also served as Lord Mayor for a year in 1958. Before that, Alfred was also elected as a councillor and his great love was education and service to young people. He became chairman of the education committee before becoming Lord Mayor.

Carey added: ‘The two main highlights of his mayoral year were raising the funds to purchase state of the art radiotherapy equipment for the local hospitals and the granting of the Freedom of the City of Portsmouth to the Royal Marines.

‘They were very important to him.

‘But there is no doubt that, for Alfred, the most significant and rewarding period of his career was when he was invited by HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to be the second director (for 12 years) and a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.’

Alfred Blake was knighted by HM the Queen in 1979 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, the Queen’s own Order of Chivalry.

· Sir Alfred Blake, born on October 6 1915, died November 17, 2013.