Published: 12:26, 22 March 2021
| Updated: 13:45, 22 March 2021
A former deacon of Faversham Baptist Church who spent years working on the town’s market has sadly died after a battle with coronavirus.
Much-loved grandmother Ann Smith was well-known through the wide range of jobs she held during the 50 years she spent living in Faversham.
Born Ann Elizabeth Williams in Ashford in 1947, she grew up with three sisters and one brother.
The family moved to Hernhill, where as a young girl Mrs Smith attended the village primary school before moving to The Lady Capel School for Girls in Faversham in 1958.
It was at a Valentine’s disco run by Faversham Youth Club that she met her future husband, Graham Smith, when the pair were aged just 15.
They married two years later and moved to Sittingbourne, before securing a council house near Ospringe, where they lived for the next 50 years.
They had two children together, Carol and David.
Carol remembers her mother as a busy woman, whose friendliness and gregarious personality made her popular in the community.
Mrs Smith turned her hand to a wide range of jobs - at the Co-op, at East Kent Packers in Whitstable Road, as well as at supermarket chain Cartiers Superfoods, and Tesco, which later acquired it.
She also worked a number of fruit-picking and farm jobs, and was employed as a cleaner.
She was perhaps best-known for the years she spent working at Faversham market, first on a linen and children’s clothing stall with her husband Graham, and later on the produce stall run by Cllr David Simmons.
“She was always busy,” said Carol. “To get extra money we delivered the free papers as a family. She took us with her fruit picking on the farms in the summer holidays.
“She was easy to chat to - that’s one of the things people liked about her. She was a people person. She didn’t just do the job, she liked to have a laugh and a joke with the customers as well.”
Mrs Smith was a life-long animal lover, and Carol recalls fond memories of a childhood spent in the company of countless pets, and even a lamb.
She was also an exceptional cook, who enjoyed baking goodies and knitting jumpers for her family - along with tending her house plants, playing Scrabble, and scrap-booking.
She was close to her siblings and their families.
“She had a special bond with her mum throughout her life and missed her every day since she passed away 12 years ago,” added Carol.
In her 30s, Mrs Smith survived a rare breast cancer.
It wasn’t until she was in her 50s that she followed her daughter into adult baptism as a born-again Christian.
She was a member of the Faversham Community Church, and later, the Faversham Baptist Church, where Mrs Smith eventually became a deacon.
She formed close friendships with many in the church community - helping with a mother and toddler group, coffee mornings, and lunches, singing in the choir and tending to an allotment with her husband.
Last June, Mr and Mrs Smith relocated to a small village near Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire.
“There they spent some happy days taking picnics out on car rides on the moors and visiting Marske beach, where they would park the car and watch the sea and the world go by,” said Carol.
Sadly, the family contracted coronavirus in early January, and Mrs Smith was admitted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
It was there she died on February 9 at the age of 73, following a three-week fight.
She is survived by her husband Graham, their children, and three grandchildren.
“She leaves behind a grieving family, but grateful for the love and care she shared with us in her lifetime,” said Carol.
“If you knew her, I know you will share our loss.”