Sam Fanaroff BEM 1926 – 2019

Sam Fanaroff

Coppersmith – Founding Guild Member

Founder member and first Chairman of the Guild of Sussex Craftsmen and Vice-President of the Sussex Guild in recent years. In 2018 Sam was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to crafts. He died peacefully at home in Westham aged 92 on 16th February 2019.


Sam, who came to England in 1950, was an inspiration to craft workers in Sussex. His family left a small town in Latvia to travel overland across Europe, and on to South Africa. He recalled ploughing with a team of fourteen oxen as well as serving an apprenticeship from the age of fourteen with a jeweller in South Africa.

Sam spent his working life as a coppersmith in Westham completing church commissions as well as doing repair work and creating one off pieces, which earned him an international reputation.

The Guild of Sussex Craftsmen was conceived by Sam during a Rural Crafts Exhibition at Michelham Priory in the 1970s. It was set up to combat the isolation of craftworkers and to foster friendship and cooperation as well as to promote sales. The name was later changed to the Sussex Guild.

The Sussex Guild is a lasting testimony to the idealism, vision and determination of its founder.    We mourn his passing and celebrate his example.


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