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Battling against the odds.

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The man who was celebrated at the opening of a popular expat club's new outlet is fighting a battle against cancer back home in the UK.Former long-term Bahrain resident and British Club member John Smith is convinced that the club's newly-opened Outside Inn will be a great success.Having named the venue, Mr Smith, 69, was unable to see the completed restaurant other than via photographs as he underwent treatment.He said: "It seems there is little prospect of me returning to Bahrain, but I am proud and honoured that I have been able to leave such a prominent mark on the British Club after an association spanning so many years. "The newly-completed Outside Inn has undergone a transformation from a coffee-shop to a bolder concept, now making use of part of the outside terrace, hence the aptness of the name."Despite being a runner and avid golfer, he is now receiving chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer, often described as 'the smoker's cancer'."Although I never smoked and only experienced minor second-hand smoke, from there it travelled to the liver, and blood carried particles to the lungs -- because of the diversity, surgery is out, so chemotherapy is the UK National Health Service's accepted therapy," Mr Smith explained. "A further CT scan will demonstrate if the therapy has resulted in any changes from the base-line existing scans of June and August."Medics will discuss the results with him tomorrow. He is now staying in Woking, Surrey, near to his three children from his first marriage, Angela, 41, Andrew, 35, and Steven, 31.Mr Smith, who was part of the team that erected the BIC's celebrated floodlighting used for The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2014 in April for the first time, is no stranger to overcoming adversity.John's second wife, Elizabeth, whom he met in Bahrain in 1995, was tragically kidnapped and murdered in the Philippines in 2013. John is now taking some solace from three energetic grandchildren.He said: "We were selling our first house in Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines, and a kidnap-for-ransom gang pretended to be one of two prospective buyers. "My dear wife attended a supposed 'final deal' meeting in daylight in Baguio's large public Burnham Park, where they must have sprung their trap the morning of November 8, 2012. I was in the UK buying a future home there for the two of us, and Elizabeth was not heard from afterwards. "Her body was found 200km away the next morning, bound, gagged, stabbed through the heart and dumped at the roadside. Apparently she had refused to carry out the gang's ransom demands involving me, thereby sacrificing her own life. The search for the gang continues."John joined the British Club in Bahrain in early 1967, when, as a 22-year-old quantity surveyor, he had joined a London-based firm in order to broaden his worldly experience. The office work comprised of the construction of major infrastructure and buildings of a military or strategic nature prior to the impending end of Britain's defence agreement with Bahrain and other countries in the region. The Bahrain projects were located mainly in Muharraq, Juffair and Hamala and were under the overall control of Britain's Ministry of Public Building and Works. John's employment contract concluded in late 1968 following which he was employed in the company's London office.Over the following years the oil and building booms in the region provided a constant demand for construction professionals -- those with Middle East experience were always in demand and John returned to Bahrain and ventured into the UAE several times during the 1970s right through to 2014.In Bahrain, rented accommodation within walking distance of the British Club was always favoured.John said: "Over this near half-century, so many changes took place in Bahrain -- its progression into a kingdom, its membership of the GCC, its development on land and into the shallow Gulf waters, its strengthened links with Saudi Arabia. Despite such fundamental events, Bahrain has managed to maintain a stable and comfortable work environment, attracting many long-term expatriates from diverse parts of the globe."Throughout all of these developments, the British Club remained in its current location, continuously proving a social and sporting refuge for like-minded people."As recently reported in GulfWeekly, The British Club opened the Outside Inn for members to relax, socialise and dine al fresco on its new terrace. David Endall, general manager, revealed at the launch that the outlet's name was picked by club member John, who was unable to attend the opening. He said: "John was an avid golfer and a good friend to a lot of people and a very good friend of the chairman, and we are all very sad that he's had to leave because of his illness."

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Nov 5, 2014
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