WELL known New Forest artist, potter and sculptor Sidney Finch died on April 10 at the age of 95.

Sid had lived in Sandy Balls since 1955. A friend of Augustus John, he had carried out French polishing work for the artist and for William Hill, founder of one of the UK’s largest bookmakers.

A founder member of the Salisbury Group of Artists, Sid often exhibited his work there and at many locations, including the Russell-Cotes Museum’s art gallery and the Bournemouth International Centre.

By trade he was a cabinet maker, carpenter and French polisher. For many years Sid carried out general maintenance work at Sandy Balls, restoring the gypsy caravan, which is on display.

After retiring in 1985 Sid became very active at the New Forest holiday centre, starting up his much loved clay play and painting activity. Originally he dug up and prepared clay from within Sandy Balls.

Sid made little turning blocks of wood, mini potters’ wheels and helped children to transform clay into pots, which they then painted and decorated, taking their creations home as souvenirs.

He also made plaster moulds of animals and ghost-like monsters for them to make little models which became so popular dozens of children lined up eagerly awaiting their turn.

At 90 Sid reluctantly decided to retire a second time. His legacy of clay play continues and it remains a popular activity with visitors still asking after Sid and bringing their grandchildren back to relive memories and make pots.

Fit and active until the end, Sid will be sadly missed by many. His cremation was on Tuesday April 30. A celebration in Sid’s memory will be held on Saturday, May 11, at noon at the Woodside Suite, Sandy Balls.