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News > Obituaries > Obituary - Tim Stanley-Clarke (OI 1964-65)

Obituary - Tim Stanley-Clarke (OI 1964-65)

We are sorry to announce the passing of Tim Stanley-Clarke in June 2017
19 Mar 2024
Written by Tina Harvey

Tim will be missed by his family and friends.

We are conscious that some people from the time when Tim was at the School may not be in contact with us and we would ask if you could pass on this information to those that you know.

As is the usual practice, we would like to place an obituary for Tim in the 2023-24 OI Journal and would be very grateful for any stories or memories you may wish to share which we could put together for the publication. Please address any contributions to me through

Nicholas Allen

OI Chairman


Tim Stanley-Clarke, who has died aged 70, was an expert on fortified wines who was revered in the trade and beyond it for the ebullience of his character, his talents as a mimic and practical joker, and his inventive use of English.

These qualities, allied to a passion for port, ensured that he was highly prized not only as chairman of wine-judging panels, but at tastings hosted by university wine societies and elements of the Armed Forces.

All knew that “Filing Clerk”, as he referred to himself, would deliver a performance of irreverent erudition involving protracted “product familiarisation” and liberal consumption of “superfluous samples”.

For more than 30 years Stanley-Clarke was associated with the Symington family, owners of Dow’s, Graham’s, Warre’s and much else. Auberon Waugh, in his memoir Will This Do?, described him as “the Symingtons’ inspired public-relations manager”.

The validity of that assessment was demonstrated in 1989 when Stanley-Clarke devised a cricket match in Oporto for which he recruited David Gower and Allan Lamb.

Gower had been a friend since scoring three centuries against Australia in the 1985 Ashes, earning himself – courtesy of a bet – three bottles of pre-First World War port, which Stanley-Clarke was responsible for unearthing. Given that Gower was captain of England at the time, it was understandable that the flight home attracted the attention of television crews and the press.

Tim Stanley-Clarke was born at Crediton, Devon, on January 29 1947. His mother, Gwen, was a concert pianist and violinist who abandoned her career after marrying Arthur Stanley-Clarke, whose own obituary was headlined “Playboy Who Started at the Top and Worked His Way Down”. Most of Timothy’s childhood was spent in British Columbia.

When his parents returned to England in 1965, he briefly attended Ipswich School, before joining Fortnum & Mason as a trainee in its wine department. After a stint in British Columbia with the Liquor Control Board, he returned to Britain to work as a salesman for Hatch Mansfield, then for Percy Fox and Dolamore, until, in 1978, he became sales director at Christopher & Co – agents for Dow’s Port.

In 1984 the Symington family appointed him a director of their UK importer, John E Fells. In 1995 he became a consultant to Fells, and took on public relations and marketing for Bouchard Père et Fils, William Fèvre and Henriot Champagne. He chaired the port judging at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, as well as the panel at the International Wine and Spirit Challenge, and served as a judge at many other wine shows.

Away from work, he was an unflagging fundraiser for Marie Curie and, latterly, a church warden. Two of his most treasured possessions were photographs of his father: one from the Illustrated London News, listing Arthur – erroneously – as dead, after being gassed near Ypres in 1915; the other showing him in the bi-plane in which he won the MC.

Stanley-Clarke exhibited characteristic spirit when ambushed by what proved a fatal lung condition, assuring friends, in messages headed “Texit”, that morphine was remarkably like 20-year-old Tawny.

He married Emma (née Carter) in 1975. The marriage was dissolved and in 1994 he married, secondly, Dounie (née Mackay), who survives him with a son from his first marriage.

Taken from the Telegraph publication (15 March 2024)


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