MARTIAL arts instructor Brian Smith, who nurtured the talents of hundreds of students over the years, died peacefully in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee on Sunday after a long illness.
Brian (60) was known by many for running the successful Rising Sun Karate Club at the Lochside Leisure Centre in the 1990s, encouraging his pupils to enter local and national competitions.
They gave many demonstrations at events including the Forfar Gala Day, and in its heyday the club had classes in Forfar, Kirriemuir, Letham and Alyth.
The Forfar class attracted so many students on a Friday that a squash court was used for the overspill from the drama studio.
Born in Forfar, Brian was educated at the East School and Forfar Academy.
On leaving school he did his apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer with Reekie before working for a spell on ice-cream vans with Joe Russo.
He then ran his own ice-cream van before working with Canmore Motors and later Richard Lawson in Kirriemuir.
A keen snooker player, Brian’s main interest lay with martial arts, turning his hobby into instructing with the Rising Sun Karate Club.
He ran competitions and gradings for his pupils and although he was a 3rd dan and a black belt, he never competed himself. However, his students took part in competitions including the Scottish Championships in Glasgow and events as far afield as Aberdeen and Stockport.
His dedication was recognised when he was nominated for the Local Service to Sports Award by Angus Sports Council, which honoured his “outstanding voluntary contribution to local sport over a lengthy period of time”.
Brian’s career and his love of martial arts were cut short when he was diagnosed with Alzheimers seven years ago.
He is survived by his wife Anne, whom he married in 1975, their family of Susan, Lyndie, Graeme and Jordan, and the couple’s four grand-children – Kris, Dean, Ellie and Kory.
The couple were also involved in fostering a number of children over 14 years
Brian’s funeral will be held in the Lowson Memorial Church at 11 am on Friday, and then Forfar Cemetery at 11.45 am.
A collection will be taken for Alzheimers Scotland at the church.