Tributes to Gordon, who kept son’s memory alive

A MANGOTSFIELD dad who made it his life’s mission to honour the memory of his teenage son has died, after a long battle with cancer.

Gordon Clapp’s son Jamie was just 13 when he was killed in a plane crash in 2007.

Mangotsfield School pupil Jamie and his friends loved skateboarding and BMX riding, and after his death Gordon worked with them to secure £100,000 to fund a skate park in Emersons Green, from local councillors, South Gloucestershire Council and the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s Millions partnership.

Gordon continued to fundraise for improvements at the park, next to Emersons Green retail park. He also met with Jamie’s friends to remember him at the park every year around July 3, the anniversary of the day his son died.

Just under two years ago Gordon announced he had been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and had been given months to live.

He died at his home in Mangotsfield, where he lived with his partner Jean, on March 15, aged 81.

Gordon’s funeral was held at Westerleigh Crematorium in April and Mangotsfield community pastor Clive Heath, who took the service, said it was “standing room only” in the chapel.

Clive said: “Gordon was very liked and respected by all who knew him.

“He was a larger than life character, who had a heart of gold – despite his health problems he would do anything for anyone.

“Gordon was so appreciative to all of Jamie’s friends and their families, who helped him raised the funds for the skatepark in memory of his beloved son Jamie

“Gordon was a fighter – he never gave up, no matter what life threw at him, and he made it his life’s work to improve the skateboard park for all to use.

“His partner Jean and families would like to thank all for their support in this sad time.

“Gordon will be missed by so many people, friends and family alike – he was a true local character.”

Married six times before he met Jean, his partner of 20 years, seven of Gordon’s children attended the funeral, including one, Ryan, who read out a heartfelt tribute to him.

Clive said Gordon did not speak much about his early life, although he worked on the railways and on fairgrounds in his younger days. His last job was as caretaker of the old Mangotsfield C of E primary school, before it moved to Emersons Green.

Jamie’s friend Ollie Nemeth, who chaired the fundraising committee for the skate park, said: “Gordon was truly one in a million, and his legacy will always be a tribute to his beloved son, Jamie.

“I’m deeply grateful to Gordon for his devotion towards keeping Jamie’s memory alive, and for his countless contributions towards enhancing our community for all to enjoy.

“May Gordon and Jamie find eternal peace together.”