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Dad, 33, dies of heart failure
A BUSINESSMAN dad-of-four who had just started a new job to spend more time with his young family has died of heart failure aged 33.
Simon Clarke, who lived in Tilehurst with his wife and children ? the youngest of whom is just two months old ? died suddenly in Royal Berkshire Hospital on Wednesday, January 2.
Mr Clarke had opened his own business, Just Curtains, in Prospect Street, Caversham, a year ago after running Reading Fabrics Superstore in Rose Kiln Lane for years.
He hoped the smaller business would give him more time to spend at home with his wife and children.
His sister Zoey Price, 34, who lives in Bracknell, said: ?My brother was very bubbly and outgoing, he loved life really.
?It?s just such a big shock to the whole family, it was so sudden.?
Mr Clarke grew up with his family in Woodley, and as a youngster he and his sister competed in ballroom dancing competitions.
Mrs Price, who now teaches dance professionally at the County School of Dance in Southampton Street, said: ?We did a bit of Latin dancing but he preferred ballroom. He was 6ft 4in and with a slim build so he was very graceful.
?He last competed when he was 18. We used to do medals in dancing and he did them all the way up to the national award.
?About nine months ago he brought his children down to the school to get them involved in dancing too.?
Mr Clarke has four children ? Min, nine, and Mik, seven, who he adopted from his widow Kantima?s previous marriage ? and two daughters Sammi, two, and Amy, two months, with his wife.
Mr Clarke met Kantima, who is Thai, while he was on a business trip in Thailand, and they married in the Asian country over Christmas in 2004.
Mrs Price said: ?He used to go to Thailand quite a bit with business, building up contacts. He used to love it out there. His wife Kantima came back to Reading with him, and she wanted to look after the children and help with the family business.
?She wants to keep it going as it is, but it?s all up in the open at the moment. We don?t know what will happen, as he used to run it on his own.?
Mr Clarke?s other great passion was Formula One racing and as well as watching the races at all times of the night he also went to the Malaysian Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix.
Mrs Price said: ?He was a Ferrari-mad person, and we all chipped in and bought him a day driving a Ferrari a few years ago. He absolutely loved it.?
Mr Clarke also leaves behind his parents Geoff and Brenda, who have flown over from Australia where they now live, and another sister Lisa.
He will also be remembered by his many friends and business associates in Reading.
His former employer and friend, Fred Potts, who runs Freelance Fabrics in Woodley, said: ?Simon was an extremely energetic character, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic in all he did.
?He will be remembered as a character by his friends and colleagues. At this tragic time our thoughts go to his wife and children.?
Mr Clarke?s funeral was held at St Michael?s Church in Tilehurst this morning.