ForeverMissed
In memory of our loved one, Kenneth King, who passed away on February 22, 2021. What a life he lived! Here are just a few wise words he shared once - The World and its people is a wonderful place. Love is the most important thing on earth. Go forward and always think positively. Nothing is impossible - you only have to want it enough. We have one life so live it to the full. Live for each day.
Posted by Maria King on March 22, 2021
Dearest Ken
Looking up at the night sky, a bright star, amongst a million other stars, shone the brightest. I smiled, put my hands together in Gratitude, knowing you were safe in the care of your loving God. We will always hold you dearly in our hearts with great love and affection, remembering you always as a wonderful human being.
With my fondest love and many blessings
Maria king
Posted by A. K. Tan on March 19, 2021
I met Ken soon after he joined Tandem & attended his presentation training course in Frankfurt, as I was planning to conduct the same course in Kuwait. That's when I got to know him better. I then moved to Singapore. I visited his Shutford cottage in the late 90s & he told me then he had lots to do to upgrade his Grade 2 listed cottage. I visited him in Tokyo when he was with BT. On his way back to UK, he stopped in Singapore to say hello & met my daughter, ~10 yo then & gave her a cross shoulder bag. We met again in a TDC summer get together in 2000s. We always have a good chat when we meet. I shall missed seeing him on my next visit to UK.

AK Tan, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Posted by SAMANTHA CHENEY on March 19, 2021
Dear Uncle Ken,
I will miss our chats, the encouragement you gave me as I moved into my Sales Role in an IT world.
We chuckled at the memory of you coming home from Brazil, I was a little girl spending the weekend at Nanny & Grandad’s. I walked into their front room & there you were. I ran into your arms thinking you were my Dad! You both looked so alike to me. 
I hope as a niece I have done you proud, travelling the world & expanding my horizons.
Thank you for all my fond memories & being my Uncle & my friend.
Rest in Peace love Sam xx
Posted by Dennis Saunderson on March 18, 2021
I have fond memories of Ken my ex brother in Law. He was full of fun and loved life. He loved travelling and met Maria his first wife and spent time in Brazil where they had twins Adrian and Rowland. 
My thoughts are with Xiang , Alice, Adrian and Rowland at this sad time.

Rest in peace Ken you will always be remembered. Love Pat    


Ken was a valued member of the sales training team at Tandem and spread his knowledge and expertise across Europe as well as making friends in many countries. He will be sadly missed by us all.

Rest in peace
Dennis.    



                     
Posted by Julia Smith on March 18, 2021
My Husband (David) and I first met Ken many years ago in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Just like Ken and Maria at the time, we were newly weds and had recently landed in a country that was vastly different to all we had ever known. Our common goal, to fulfill dreams, find adventure and new opportunities whilst experiencing life on another continent, was the inspiration for the start of a close and enduring friendship. We shared fabulous times together, creating a myriad of unforgettable memories; such happy days, filled with fun, much laughter, trips to the beach, dinners at the club, amazing parties, and so much more.

Ken was always easy to be with; he had a great sense of humour, a laugh like no other as well as an enthusiastic zest for living life to the fullest; for him the glass was always more half full than empty. More importantly, he was a kind, caring and loyal friend. Since living in Brazil was never a permanent intention, we eventually went our separate ways vowing to stay in touch one way or another. David passed away in 2005 and I will never forget the heartfelt tribute Ken made to his old friend when conveying this sad news to others we had all known during our years together in Brazil.

It has been said that a man measures success not by his material wealth but by the influence he had on his children as they were growing up and how they ultimately turned out. Ken always spoke very highly of his twin sons, as well as his precious little daughter. I therefore have no doubt that, despite all his personal accomplishments (and there were many), Ken's final journey in life was filled with immense pride knowing that he was the wealthiest man in this world for having Adrian, Rowland and Alice in his life!

Heartfelt condolences to all the family; especially Adrian, Rowland, Alice and Xiang.

With fond memories of a dear friend; sadly gone but not forgotten!
Posted by Carla Ellis on March 17, 2021
Only knew Ken for a couple of years. His daughter, Alice, attended Epwell Nursery with my son, Marcel. The Children then moved onto Shenington Primary School together. Within the school, I am Chairperson of the PTA. Ken joined my team and proved to be a very valuable member. He was dedicated to raising money for the school, which directly benefits the children. He attended every meeting and volunteered at every event, bringing his calmness, kindness and wisdom with him! Ken was keen for the PTA to replace all the school musical instruments. We hope to facilitate this in his memory.

With love and sincere condolences to all the family.

Sleep well Ken x
Posted by Alan Hill on March 17, 2021
Ken, a young man at heart. Our paths crossed at Tandem, I was a student on Presentation Skills, and then became his partner. I then taught Presentation Skills myself, which in turn took me to the Middle East. Without Ken this career path would never have opened, so I owe him a great deal. As others have said he was always very positive and full of encouragement, and a gentleman. God bless, may he rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen
Posted by Tony Watson on March 16, 2021
Anne and I have known Ken for a very long time; we met during the early “swinging sixties”. Even back then he was good looking, charming, charismatic, but also very sincere and kind. We got to know his Mum and Dad (Vi and Fred) and his brothers Fred, Ray and Paul very well, as we always seemed to be round his house, either picking him up to go out, or enjoying the frequent parties that went on at his house. Any excuse for a party seemed to be the motto of the day.
There are so many memories of times we spent with Ken; we were with him in Spain on holiday when he bought the famous “Suede” jacket. It took him days to decide which one to buy, and then the first time he wore it, somebody threw water over him from a passing train. In those days the trains ran by the side of the pavement/beach with no fence between you and the train. He was so concerned what customs might say about the suede jacket, when he returned to the UK, but they were more interested in the watch he had bought abroad a year earlier.
One date that really sticks in my mind is Saturday 30th July 1966. Yes, I am sure that men of a certain age will have guessed “The FIFA World Cup Final” when England beat Germany 4 – 2. I watched the match with Ken at his house with the rest of his family, and as I recall it was in black and white, no colour TV in those days. After the match had finished Ken said, shall we go up West, which was short for the West End. So we changed into our best mohair suits and caught the train up to London. The atmosphere in Town was electric. I will never forget that day spent with Ken.
We lost contact with Ken when he went on his overseas adventures, but met up when he came back to the UK, including his wedding to Maria, and then when they finally moved back to the UK and bought a house in Maidenhead.
Another memorable night was after Ken had returned from Japan, and he invited Anne and me to his house in Shutford, where he cooked us the most amazing very traditional Japanese meal. Brilliant night spent with superb company.
The last time we saw Ken, was in Windsor on a sunny Sunday afternoon, when we went to a Ricky-Tick Revival for the launch of the book, “As You Were” The true adventures of the Ricky-Tick Club. We didn’t feature in the book, but we should have, the amount of time we spent in that club. Ken bought a copy of the book, and later Ray very kindly dropped it off at our house so we could read it.
We spoke to Ken last year, when we provisionally arranged to meet for lunch once the Covid restrictions allowed us to travel, but it wasn’t to be. Anne and I have known Ken for a long time (circa 55 years), he was our best mate, and in the swinging sixties, we went everywhere together. Oh happy days.
Posted by Sue Faulknall on March 15, 2021
Ken was a BT work colleague, Manager and friend who kept in touch over the years. He had a great sense of humour, made work fun and had the most kind and caring persona which made him the nicest person you could meet.  In those BT days he was always talking about his very good looking sons who he was so proud of. Portugal which he loved and how we should buy property out there . I wish I had listened !  The last time I saw Ken was in Tokyo where he saved me and my fellow colleagues from eating Dolphin which was the speciality dish on the menu!!A few years ago Ken contacted me to ask if I could try and organise with him a BT reunion of those who worked at the Farley Hall office as he described them as his happiest times whilst at BT. We managed to track down most people but sadly each time we tried to get some dates ill health and bad weather got in the way. However I was pleased that through this exercise we were able to find those he really wanted to make contact with even though the reunion never happened.  I am pleased Ken eventually settled surrounded by all of his family whom he was very proud of. He will be sadly missed but has left a lovely memory which we all will cherish.  Our thoughts are with you .
Posted by David Stephen on March 15, 2021
I met Ken and his beautiful first wife Maria in the 70’s at the Athletic Club in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was New Years Eve and there was a ball at the club. I recall my brother saying wow, look who’s walked in. He was referring to Maria who looked stunning in a white ball gown but she was accompanied by a handsome man in a blue suit wearing matching blue platform shoes like Elton John. We were all intrigued and invited them to join our table. We soon became fast friends spending most weekends together going to the club or down to the beach in Guaruja. We also partied in Rio during the Carnival a few times.. Ken was always great fun with his signature cry of “Crikey” and inimitable laugh. I was lucky enough to be in Brazil when his gorgeous twin sons were born and he was a very proud father. In happy to say we have remained m in touch Over the years and I have been to his Villa in the Algarve and met the lovely Xiang there. I am happy that I managed to see Ken not too long ago on a visit to the UK. It was with great sadness that I learned of his passing. Rest In Peace dear friend.
Posted by Adrian King on March 15, 2021
ON BEHALF OF LEN BULLOCK

I worked with Ken King while at Tandem Computers in the late 1980s. One memorable event comes to mind where Ken’s character shone in my favour. During the 1989 London Marathon, sponsored by Tandem Computers, Ken and I were near each other during the race around London. As we reached the last few miles I began to “hit the wall” of fatigue and pain. Ken recognised me and joined alongside. He kept cheering me on and encouraging me to keep going. Which I did with a finishing time below 4 hours. This memory of Ken has stayed with me whenever I am faced with a challenge that becomes seemingly too difficult. Even though I have lost contact over the years, I am glad to have known him as both a colleague and a friend.
Posted by Jonathan Winfield on March 15, 2021
Ken was a member of Prince Henry the Navigator Lodge 9360 that meets in Vilamoura 6 times a year. My wife Linda and I would meet Ken and Xiang and Alice socially whenever they were in the Algarve. We enjoyed his company very much and last met for lunch in the summer of 2019. We miss him very much and on behalf of the Members of the Lodge, Linda and I convey our sincere condolences to Ken's family and friends. RIP a good friend.
Posted by Christian Koepchen on March 15, 2021
We met Ken more than ten years ago when he was in Oman. We liked him very much and became friends, and we strayed in contact via Social Media ever since. We are very sad to hear of Ken’s passing! May he rest in peace! Azra, Christina and Christian
Posted by Diane Brittain on March 14, 2021
I met Ken in the Algarve Hash House Harriers. In his last walks with us, and with me being one of the slower walkers, we often ended up waking together. He always had a story to tell and a twinkle in his eye! May he carry "On On" twinkling!
Posted by Steve Sharpe on March 13, 2021
Ken was a colleague at BT and a good friend, I last met him for lunch in the Windmill pub in Badby a couple of years ago and he lit up the room as he arrived not only with his positive personality but he was wearing his bright red trousers!

His major topic of conversation at BT was often " his two handsome boys " and this was complimented when we last met with pictures of his beautiful wife and little girl.

Most of my memories regarding Ken are related to me as this was the essence of Ken, he was always there for everyone and a key element of any community or team that he led or was part of.

Many of the readers of this tribute will not have seen Ken at work and experienced his political ability - so I will close my tribute with a story that I frequently share with anyone who will listen. 

BT and MCI became partners and each account team had to choose a global leader and subsequently, we traveled to Atlanta together for the glocal lead workshop.

MCI sought to control and influence us by sending us details of their senior relationships within the account ( we had few of these ) a plane from New York and a white stretched limo to take us to our hotel.

Ken told me to dress in a suit and tie for my presentation and (as he predicted), the MCI team turned up in shorts and T-shirts and gave their presentation that clearly showed that they should lead the account. Ken then closed the morning session saying that he felt that MCI had not sent senior enough management or given the correct respect to such an important event.

At lunchtime, he told me to change into my shorts and a T-shirt - I did not understand why but I did as I was told. In the afternoon the MCI team all turned up in suits and were all totally astonished to see me presenting my pitch in my shorts, within 20 minutes BT took the lead role.
         Absolute genius my friend - I will miss you ...
Posted by Geoff Hill on March 12, 2021
Ken was a lovely person, albeit perhaps not quite as his lovely wife Xiang and cute little baby daughter.

Ken made us most welcome to the Algarve Hash House Harriers when we first joined , and we soon discovered that we both worked for the same company ( BT ) & he " presented " me with a BT Mug which is still in use.

I am particularly grateful to Ken as he was the instigator of my Hash name. It was my virgin hash , and I was mortified to find that lots of my carefully-laid flour trail had been deliberately destroyed, even after being relaid. There were posters on lamp-posts proclaiming " Danger, white powder, could be poisonous for dogs".

When it was time in the circle for christening me, it was Ken who suggested that there was only one possible choice for a name : Anthrax.

I shall be eternally grateful, when I think what some of the rude alternatives could have been.

May he enjoy many a down-down in the great Hash-in-the-sky.
Posted by Stephen Coulson on March 12, 2021
Karen and I got to know Ken through the Algarve Hash House Harriers and enjoyed many a hash with him. He was always great company to run / walk with with plenty of stories to tell about his career, travel and hashing around the World. We will miss those times.

Our thoughts are with all of his family and specifically Xiang and Alice.

Keep on hashing Ken. On on... Cyclopath and Dope Pedaller.
Posted by martin morris on March 9, 2021
Dear Ken. You brought so much cheer into our lives. Appearing in Shutford in late 1990 – then Hilltop , as the cottage was known – you breathed new life into the place.

Ken, in a stylish blue suit, double breasted of course, an immaculate shirt to match with French cuffs and well-polished shoes would grace any board room as indeed he did. Always involved in some huge bid or other involving pension funds or whatever, surprised us with his hidden D.I.Y skills which might have even surprised himself! One minute the board room man; the next up to his knees in dried mud and horse hair; the standard of insulation which went with a period cottage which over hundreds of years had been covered with layer upon layer of wall paper, finished with wood chip covering everything. We saw Ken smiling through clouds of red dust and he could only win our absolute admiration for undertaking something akin to extreme sports. Marmiting on Kilimanjaro pales into insignificance but Ken with his running talent had done that anyway!

Ken became our mentor and great friend. Always a welcome, and coming home from a tough day at work on a Friday usually meant a coffee and chat and a jolly good start to the weekend. Ken is with us in our thoughts, and so too his family.

An extract from The Shutford News November 1990, when Maria was editor.

‘’ We welcome Ken King, who has moved to Cooks Hill after working as a management consultant in Holland, Brazil and South Africa for many years.
Ken is now employed in the computer industry and was attracted to Shutford and Doreen and Fred’s charming cottage. His eleven-year-old twin sons Adrian and Rowland have helped him a lot with the painting and decorating!
In his spare time, Ken enjoys running, and has entered the London Marathon in aid of charity for several years.’’
Thank you Ken.
Posted by Jim O'Brien on March 9, 2021
I met Ken at Tandem. As a Service Manager I atended some of his Sales training courses. Although most of his students were high-fying salespeople he was very patient with us technical folk who were a bit suspicious of Sales.
I liked Ken's sense of humour and good nature and he was very good at his job. I last saw Ken at Peter Grainger's funeral (another Tandem employee) and it was typical of Ken, even though he was quite unwell himself, to want to join with old colleagues to say godbye to Peter. Although he was battling cancer he was optimistic and in good spirits so it came as a shock to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences to his family and friends and may he rest in peace. A good man has gone to join the Tandem Alumini in the sky.
Posted by Carlos Gonçalves on March 9, 2021
So sorry to hear about Ken. I knew him few year ago and our conversations about life, plans all expectations will remain in my memory. I address my sincere apologies to all family.
Posted by Teresa Ferreira on March 8, 2021
Dear Ken

Thank you for the wonderful, laughs on the Hash in the Algarve, it was great to meet Xiang and baby Alice. we had great fun, I remember helping Xiang at the hash you hosted, she makes the best rice!! wonderful times and great laughs. RIP Ken, watch over your family, will have a down down for you On On.

My heart goes out to all the family, at this sad time love to you all.

Always remembered Ken

Teresa (HEAD) and Wilson (POLE DANCER)
Posted by Justine Wheal on March 8, 2021
I was deeply saddened to hear the news about my Uncle Ken. I have fond memories of my very handsome, well travelled Uncle. I remember being delighted when I was 11 years old & my cousins Adrian & Rowland were born - twins & perfect to make a fuss of & mother!! Ken will be forever missed but remembered always. His memory will live on in Adrian, Rowland & his beautiful daughter Alice & I wish them & Xiang much love at this very sad time xxxx
Posted by Caroline King on March 7, 2021
Ken, Thank you for all the memories over the years. You’ve been a great brother in law and will be so sadly missed by all your family and friends . Rest in peace.
Posted by Bob Green on March 7, 2021
It was with great sadness to hear of Ken’s passing. I always enjoyed his company on the hash, often walking with him and discussing the many places we had both visited around the world and especially about his property in Portugal and ours in Tenerife.
He was an unassuming, kind hearted gentleman and will be greatly missed by myself and the hashing family. RIP Ken.
Posted by Brian Lewis on March 6, 2021
Met Ken on several occasions with the Bicester Hash House Harriers. He always had time for everyone and will be missed by all of us. Will raise a glass when the pubs reopen. 

RIP Ken and my condolences to all family and friends.
Posted by Terry Idle on March 5, 2021
I was so sorry to hear about Ken, my heartfelt condolences goes out to all his family. I worked with Ken at BT. Ken was always cheerful and extremely professional and a joy to know.
Posted by Raymond King on March 5, 2021
Well dear brother what a journey you have had. From Camelot Street to Shutford and all places East to West, North to South and in between. I know Mum and dad would be very proud of you and all that you accomplished

Be assured your legacy will live on through your gifted children Rowland, Adrian and Alice.

Thank you for being my brother, l will miss you. Ray
Posted by Danny Guillot on March 5, 2021

I am still in disbelief that Ken has left us. My heart goes out to the entire family as this very difficult time.

I met Ken as a hasher living in Bali Indonesia in June 2008 where he came on vacation for a week to get away from Tokyo and to experience real jungle hashing.

We immediately hit it off like long lost brothers and I showed him around Bali on non hashing days and took care of him during his entire stay. Very ironic that my company wax transferring me to Tokyo in August 2008 just 2 months from the time he arrived here.

I took him to the airport to return back to Tokyo and told him see you in August

After arriving in Tokyo I was struggling with the train system so KEN automatically kicked in to teach me how to get around He would meet me at my apartment on hash days(Mon Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun) and showed me the system Took me about a month because I am a slow learner (Cajun Boy from Louisiana)

We spent a lot of time wining and dining on non hash days as well, quickly becoming good friends KEN gave me info on where to buy running shoes in Tokyo because my size was same as his and hard to find in Japan As you can see on the photo of me and Ken drinking beer out of our new shoes. Actually this is a hash ritual that you must do for wearing new shoes. The funny part is that Ken ratted me out as a new shoe victim but he bought new shoes one week before me so I ratted him out as well so we both had to drink from our shoes

In Dec 2008, we were together on the Friday hash and I received a call from my daughter in the US that my 22 year old son passed away. I collapsed and luckily KEN was there to help me and took me home to pack up and he also booked my airline ticket back to USA as well This was KEN Just a great friend and brother to me.

I don't know what I would have done without his friendship while in Tokyo

The hash organized a wonderful wedding party for him and Xiang in true hashing style and everyone had a wonderful time and I can still remember clearly just how happy KEN and Xiang were on that day with all of the hash family there.

Ken was KEN Gentlemen above all else and just a fun person full of life to be around. Never saw him not happy ever.

I am currently planning to move to Portugal in several months and Ken has been helping me in many ways with locations and real estate contacts. I know he was looking forward to me moving.

I have lost a brother and true sincere friend and I will never forget him and always cherish the memories we had together

Rest In Peace KEN 




Posted by Maria Morris on March 2, 2021
Ken moved to Shutford in 1990 and became an instant friend and wonderful neighbour. Ken was kind, generous, fun, very stylish and great with the children. We enjoyed his company and later, he came to visit us in Sweden. In the last few years, as we have reoccupied Compton Cottage, we have had the pleasure of getting to know Xiang and Alice and look forward to spending more time with them in the future. We feel so sad that Ken is no longer there and send our love and condolences to all his family. Maria, Martin, Hannah, Frida, Ulrika and Max Morris
Posted by Mark Prior on March 1, 2021
My sister Tracy and I met Ken & Maria in the early 70’s in São Paulo, Brazil. They were an exotic addition to an already exotic group of friends. Ken had been a pressman I believe, and I my father had just finished building a printing factory in São Paulo. Ken got up the courage to ask him for a job. My father took the leap and never regretted it, always regarding Ken with great respect and gratitude. I was fortunate enough to be able to tell Ken a few weeks ago how much my dad admired him. Ken was a fine man.
Posted by Myra King on March 1, 2021
Ken was a Special Brother in Law to me much more like a Brother I have many Happy Memories of Ken
until we meet again Good Night xx
Posted by Pete King on March 1, 2021
Always great company, an adventurer who explored the world, an inspiration for my own career and I am so glad you were my uncle and to share the same surname, King. Whilst it is sad to think you are no longer with us, your memories and words will live on and I will never forget. živeli ujka Ken život
Posted by Dave Gibb on February 28, 2021
I worked with Ken at Tandem. He was always full of encouragement and a real gentleman.
Ken was running a facilitation course at the abbey in Great Missenden which I attended. I was only a lowly systems manager and the rest of the group were seasoned software instructors, so all very happy standing up and presenting. However, I did my best. Ken came up to me after the class and said that he thought I'd make a great instructor and I should go down that route for my career. I took his advice and became a senior instructor eventually. I guess I taught well over 250 classes and maybe 2000 students over the next 12 years. All thanks to Ken's advice.
RIP Ken - we'll miss you at the Tandem Drinking Club sessions.
Posted by Tara Lever on February 28, 2021
I was so sorry to hear about Ken passing away. I did not know Ken well but he became a regular, along with Alice, at my music group I used to run a few years ago. I thought it might be nice to share a couple of fond memories I had.
The first one that I hope raises a smile, is Ken pulling me to one side at one of the first few groups he attended - he asked quite seriously "Tara, am I supposed to know the words to all these songs? Everyone else seems to know them and I don't know any!" Well, it wasn't many more weeks before he started learning them too. Alice was very shy and timid to start but her confidence grew hugely over the time she attended and I would say Ken became more relaxed and at ease over the weeks and months too. Ken's love for Alice was so clear to see, and Alice's love for her father too.
My second memory is when I came along to do a music session at Alice's birthday party at the hall in Shutford - I turned up to Ken and his brother blowing up balloons and decorating the hall and it was just a lovely sight to see! Ken was so kind and I remember being introduced to all the family which was so sweet and meant a lot to me as usually I would go in, do my thing and go.
As I said before, I did not know Ken well at all but from what I got to see, he was a real gentleman and a truly wonderful father.
Sending my condolences to you all. x

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Maria King on March 22, 2021
Dearest Ken
Looking up at the night sky, a bright star, amongst a million other stars, shone the brightest. I smiled, put my hands together in Gratitude, knowing you were safe in the care of your loving God. We will always hold you dearly in our hearts with great love and affection, remembering you always as a wonderful human being.
With my fondest love and many blessings
Maria king
Posted by A. K. Tan on March 19, 2021
I met Ken soon after he joined Tandem & attended his presentation training course in Frankfurt, as I was planning to conduct the same course in Kuwait. That's when I got to know him better. I then moved to Singapore. I visited his Shutford cottage in the late 90s & he told me then he had lots to do to upgrade his Grade 2 listed cottage. I visited him in Tokyo when he was with BT. On his way back to UK, he stopped in Singapore to say hello & met my daughter, ~10 yo then & gave her a cross shoulder bag. We met again in a TDC summer get together in 2000s. We always have a good chat when we meet. I shall missed seeing him on my next visit to UK.

AK Tan, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Posted by SAMANTHA CHENEY on March 19, 2021
Dear Uncle Ken,
I will miss our chats, the encouragement you gave me as I moved into my Sales Role in an IT world.
We chuckled at the memory of you coming home from Brazil, I was a little girl spending the weekend at Nanny & Grandad’s. I walked into their front room & there you were. I ran into your arms thinking you were my Dad! You both looked so alike to me. 
I hope as a niece I have done you proud, travelling the world & expanding my horizons.
Thank you for all my fond memories & being my Uncle & my friend.
Rest in Peace love Sam xx
his Life

The Eulogy (19th March 2021)

READ BY ROWLAND KING

Good afternoon everyone. On behalf of my brother Adrian and I, Xiang and our families, I would like to thank you all for joining us today, especially during these most challenging of times.

I will start by saying that I’m extremely grateful I didn’t have to do this 26 years ago. As most of you will know, Dad fought and beat cancer in 1995 when he was just 48 years old. 7 years later he bravely did it all again, when he conquered prostate cancer. 

Whilst these unbelievably difficult battles might have beaten some people or at least slowed them down, Dad appeared to flourish, finding even greater purpose in life. But, he was a survivor, with immense self-belief and in the decades that followed, he achieved so much. Not only did he enjoy the most successful years of his career, which afforded him a degree of financial freedom, but he also indulged his passion for travel, and of course he started a new family with Xiang and Alice.

Just after Dad died, Adrian and I found a letter addressed to us, dated 9th November 1995, which he would have written in the days leading up to his kidney operation. It was to be opened in the event of his death. Whilst incredibly moving, it was also empowering to read Dad’s beautiful, hand-written words and advice that was meant for his 15 year old sons.

In this letter, he advised that we should ‘live for each day’, to ‘go forward and always think positively’, that ‘nothing is impossible – you only have to want it enough’, that we should ‘try to travel, preferably with a job like me’ (humility was never one of Dad’s strengths, I’m afraid!)  and that ‘the world and its people is a wonderful place’. Such sound advice that I will be proud to pass onto my own children.

Throughout our lives, Dad took his role of fatherly advisor very seriously, to the point that at times I’m sure he easily became frustrated that his guidance was not always well-received. But, in a strange way, which perhaps infuriated him even more, I think we were just emulating Dad, who had a habit of challenging the opinions of those closest to him.That said, he quite obviously only ever had the best of intentions and desperately wanted us to succeed in life.

Even in the last few hours before he died, when I was sitting with him, we had an important conversation, in which, among other things, he gave me some excellent career advice that I have already begun to apply, with gusto.

Naturally, we have been pouring over old photos of Dad, which have not only reminded me of how devastatingly handsome he was but also how much he loved fashion. Dad always had a good dress-sense, but in his early years, he was much more experimental. His brother Ray recalls Dad walking into the living-room one evening with a chiffon shirt, a purple scarf with purple ankle swingers to match, (all handmade by his mum) and a pair of Hush Puppies. My Grandad didn’t know where to start, poor man! Although he toned things down over time, my schoolboy memories, were of him always looking pretty cool.

Dad also loved music and in the early days of being a Mod, he really got into the scene. His favourites were Motown and Blues artists like Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, Howlin’ Wolf & Muddy Waters. Dad went to a lot of live gigs in those days, both uptown in Soho and locally around Berkshire. He often spoke fondly about a club called the Ricky Tick in Windsor, which hosted a lot of his favourite artists. It was around this time that, in a tiny club in Slough called The Carlton, he watched an up-and-coming local band called The Rolling Stones, just before they took the world by storm. How lucky was he!

Needing to get to and from these venues in style, Dad also developed a keen interest in cars. In all honesty, he never knew all that much about them but he did enjoy them and after all, they completed the image.

Later in life, Dad enjoyed a generous company car allowance. I recall every couple of years we’d help him to choose the paint colour and trim for the latest German motor. In fact it was on a German Autobahn in the 80s that I recall his passion for cars and music collided. With the two of us asleep in the backseat, Dad was driving the 7-series through the night down to Austria on one of the amazing ski holidays he used to take us on. I recall waking up to a beautiful sunrise and the opening chords of Money for Nothing by Dire Straits. Unbeknown to Dad (who was laser focused on the road ahead and sporting some achingly cool black Ray Ban Aviators), he had me as a spectator, and as the drums were gradually building up to when that incredible lead guitar kicks in, he floored it! That was a true ‘My Dad is my hero’ moment, it was pretty awesome!

Throughout his life, work featured front and centre and always gave him an enormous sense of purpose and pride. Like his brothers Freddy, Ray and Paul, Dad had a great work ethic, which obviously came from their parents, Frederick and Violet. I recently learnt from Uncle Fred that Nan would often say to the four of them: “There are no doors closed to you boys” - that really was great advice Nan, they’ve certainly done you proud.

Dad was always hugely ambitious and determined to succeed. In 1968, aged 21 years old, he became frustrated by what he felt was an unfair class-system in England at that time, holding him back in his pursuit of career success and financial security. And so he decided to leave his friends and family to join a printing firm in Johannesburg, South Africa where he hoped to find a meritocratic system that would reward him for his hard work.

This would be the first of 6 countries outside of the UK in which Dad both lived and worked. Dad absolutely loved travelling and in many ways, it defined him. I have fond memories of him returning home from regular work trips, and as he walked in through the front door, we would always run to the stairs and jump into his arms from a few steps up.

South Africa is also where he met my Mum, Maria through mutual friends. We’ve never really asked too much about those early years, but whilst going through a few of Dad’s things these last few weeks,, we came across a folder containing dozens of letters, postcards and one telegram all addressed to my grandparents and his youngest brother Paul, from Mum & Dad whilst they were in Jo’burg. The telegram, which was dated 28th December 1971, really stood out, as I don’t recall ever having seen one before. I guess that the cost per word for a telegram to the Uk in those days was fairly steep as it simply read: ‘Sorry, phones fully booked for 3 days. STOP. Hope you had a nice Christmas. STOP. Got engaged. STOP. Love Ken & Maria.’

But for me, what really stood out in these letters was the love he felt for his family. His brothers Paul, Ray and Freddy and Ray’s girls, Samantha & Justine are mentioned continuously throughout and whilst Dad was obviously having a wonderful time, chasing his dreams around the world, he clearly missed home.

READ BY ADRIAN KING

And that brings me onto another of his passions, and perhaps his greatest, Family. Dad would always say that Family was the most important thing and he had it in abundance. Growing up with 3 brothers, Dad was always surrounded by family and as they grew older, then came the nieces and nephews. All 4 brothers are strong-willed and self-assured which sometimes led to brotherly feuds. But when it comes down to it, they love each other and are there for each other when times get tough.

Dad’s own family, with my brother and I being born, started in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was the next country he moved to with Mum after they were married. Dad soon realised that he was on the back foot not speaking the language, and so he quickly went about changing this by attending Portuguese school. Dad learned quickly and maintained this fluency throughout his life.

It was in Brazil that they met a number of lifelong friends including David, Mark, Julia and Julia’s late husband, also David. These were clearly very happy times for Dad, as he said in his letter to us that Brazil was his favourite country on earth. We heard just the other week that his friends are planning a reunion next year on his birthday in memory of him. Please send photos guys, so long as they’re not indecent! 

As well as the letter addressed to Rowland and I amongst Dad’s paperwork was a hand-typed log his Dad had written. An account of the time he and Dads mum, my Nan, flew out to Brazil on holiday. It is an incredibly descriptive summary of events, filled with excitement about their first ever long haul holiday. In my Dads last few days, although entirely lucid, he lacked energy and for much of that time had his eyes closed. However, as I read this log back to him, his eyes were wide open and he was clearly filled with joy.. He loved his parents a lot, and the fact he was able to take them out to Brazil, show them Rio, São Paulo, Iguasu falls and a number of other sites, gave him an enormous sense of pride..

I don’t believe stumbling across these few pages which enabled me to read them to him in his last few days was a coincidence. I believe it was a clear demonstration that there’s something bigger out there, a higher power of sorts. Dad, always had a strong faith that carried him through the good times and the bad and as I learnt, just earlier this morning from his brother Freddie, Dad also once considered becoming a priest and even attended a few seminars. Also, as we learnt from Father Ryan, whenever he went away on business, he would always seek out the local Catholic Church.

Dad loved sight-seeing. We recall one year when we went to visit him in Japan, he took us on a trip to Kyoto. We do have some great memories of this, staying in a traditional Japanese guesthouse. One of the main attractions of Kyoto are the mesmerising Temples and stunning Traditional gardens. At the age of 16 however, after the 3rd or 4th Temple, Rowls and I felt like we’d ticked the box. Not Dad. He persevered, and dragged us to at least 10 locations every day, battling through our persistent teenage complaining. 

This insistence on following orders, was one of Dads traits that if I’m honest, could be a little tricky to deal with. Clearly his self-assuredness, dare I say it, arrogance, contributed enormously towards his career success. However with those closest to him it could at times feel a touch on the controlling side! In hindsight we now recognise that all he wanted was the best for us. Also, annoyingly, Dad was usually right. That’s why so many relied upon him for guidance and advice, especially regarding work. We’ve received messages from a number of his old friends & colleagues, praising him for his professionalism, managerial and mentoring prowess. He was certainly pivotal to our careers, and we will enormously miss not having his sound advice on the end of the phone.

In many ways, Dad was fearless and open to trying anything. He sky-dived in California, Scuba-dived around the world, but one of his most impressive achievements were the 3 marathons he ran. 2 in London 1 of these under 4 hours and then one in Tokyo, after he’d kicked Cancer. Dad loved running, he found this passion later in life, but when he did, as with everything he put his mind to, he went all in. In celebration of this, you’ll be pleased to know that along with his tweed blazer and red chinos, Dad is also wearing a pair of running shoes today!

Later this love of running got him into Hashing while he was living abroad in Oman in 2006. For those that don’t know, Hash House Harriers are an international non-competitive running - slash - social club. From what I can gather, “social club” actually means “drinking club”. Dad had heard about this bunch of, as he describes, “nutters” out in the Omani desert, who were known to run a bit then drink a lot. This seemed like a good idea as alcohol was hard to come by. And so commenced Dads time as a hasher. It’s also worth noting, that every hasher has a nickname which tends to be quite amusing, and Dad’s was no different. For Dad, a big Omani guy named him, and from that day on, Dad would be known as King Kok. 

Dad made a bunch of friends whilst hashing. In fact it was through one of his Hashing friends, Danny who he knew out in Tokyo that he met Xiang and the 2 of them would run together. I understand that Danny and a number of friends in Tokyo are running a Hash today in honour of Dad. To all of the Hashers across Tokyo, Oman, Algarve, Oxford & Bicester - as you might say - On, On. 

His self-belief also meant he had the confidence to take on any task he put his mind to. He was a keen DIY’er working on all the properties he owned at some point of his life most notably, Shutford. When Dad moved into what is now Honeystone Cottage, to say it was a do’er upper, is an understatement. A close friend and neighbour of Dads, Martin Morris recently reminded me that the house was so old and in need of a refurb that the internal stone walls still had the original plaster which, back in the 1800’s, happened to be horse hair and horse shit. Some memorable but messy times helping him rip apart those walls.

Dad loved the cottage. He described it as “a piece of me” in his letter to Rowland and I, rand over the years really made it into a lovely family home for Xiang, Alice and himself. He even continued with his vision in more recent years, with the build of an annexe and pebbled driveway. He was so close to seeing it through to completion, but over the last month Xiang has done a great job of adding the final touches.

Dad also loved Shutford. He devoted a huge amount of time to the community. He was the village archivist up until the day he died and also led the Shutford Plan which played a key role in the foundation work for the new village hall. A couple of years ago, Dad was able to fully appreciate the hall as he and Xiang hosted Alice’ 4th birthday party which was packed full of Alice’s friends from her nursery. Alice now attends Shennington CofE Primary. Soon after she joined, Dad became an active part of school life, volunteering to become a Governor. We’re very pleased that Alice’s Head Teacher, Sarah Reynolds, is here today. 

Dad achieved so much in life and then in his later years, was still able to be a phenomenal father to our sister Alice, who he completely adored. He knew how important education was for us, due to his lack thereof, and it’s the same for Alice. Although she’s already managed to top all of us by being bi-lingual, thanks to her Mandarin-speaking mum! Together, Dad & Xiang have raised Alice to be such a warm and enthusiastic young lady. Alice’s unbounding positivity for life was without a doubt one of, if not the main motivation for Dads long fight to the end. As well as a great mother, Xiang was also a good wife and cared for Dad in those later years. I wanted to pause and say thank you from Rowland, myself and all of Dads family and friends for looking after Dad. You even managed to curb his cheddar cheese and chocolate digestives habit! 

Dad enjoyed many happy times at his villa in the Algarve hills with Alice & Xiang. We know how much he also wanted to spend time there with his 7 grandkids: Lola, Tabitha, Henry, Ottilie, Alexander, Edward & Eliza who he loved immensely. Unfortunately though, in his later years, he had to be closer to his amazing Oncology team in Oxford who kept him strong and healthy way longer than we’d initially feared, and as such, we weren’t able to make that happen. 

Dad made many sacrifices in life but still lived life to the full. We’re especially grateful for the opportunities he gave us, and we know that he was proud of us all. He had a huge personality with an almighty bellowing laugh and a big heart. Although he meant well, sometimes he could be misunderstood. But Dad was Dad. We loved him enormously. We will miss him tremendously. And it is touching to know that so many around the world feel the same way. 

In the last few weeks, we’ve received multiple heart-warming messages of condolence from people whose lives he’s impacted over the years. One word to describe him really sticks out as it appeared to be on repeat. Gentleman. I guess Dad was a true Gent. And his gentleness shone through with the love and tenderness he had for his family and friends..

We love you Dad, Daddy, Grandad, Kenny. We’ll keep making you proud.

KENS HISTORY

Dad left this to us and so we would like to share it with all of you just to show you how much of a life he lived! He did become quite tired in his later years and so was unable to add as much as he managed in his earlier ones, please don't think anything of it. We hope you enjoy. Rowland & Adrian King



I was born on the 18th April 1947 in Lambeth Hospital.

I am the second son of Frederick William and Violet Ludford King

My older Brother is Frederick Barry King, husband of Myra King with two sons Richard and Peter. Freddy was born in St. Thomas’s hospital, Lambeth.

My younger brother Raymond King is husband to Caroline King. Raymond has two daughters from his first marriage to Pat King. Samantha and Justine. He also has two sons with Caroline, Nicholas (sadly deceased) and Jonathan.

Our youngest brother is Paul King, husband to Wendy King. He has a daughter Jenna and a son Adam.

BIRTH to AGE 10 (1947-1957)

My Mum and Dad first lived at Nan and Grandad (Cornelius) Ludford’s: The address being 2, Santley House, Baylis Road, Lambeth.  When I came out of maternity we moved straight to our little pre-fab. With two sons by this time my Mum and Dad were keen to get their own place. No easy task with such destruction of South London from the German 1940’s bombs. My Dad’s family home at 10, Lanfranc Street was totally destroyed, and they were moved into the British Rail flats nearby. Luckily my Dad finally got us a lovely prefab.  57, Camelot Street, just off the Old Kent Road in S.E.15. A long way from Lambeth, but near enough for him to keep to his job at Thomas Headlands as a clerk.

It was not all easy though. Dad was working two or three additional jobs most of the time. He was a great wallpaper guy so was always in great demand. Most of the time brother Fred watched out for us in the street. No sweets though as Sweet Rationing didn't end until February 1953. I still recall going to the sweet shop with my brothers, on one occasion and sharing a glass of Tizer. Couldn’t afford the bottle. I also recall being hit in the head by a young girl who was playing with a rope around an old lamppost in Camelot Street. My Mum had to take me to the hospital every week for injections to reduce the oozing from my ears. One time after getting off the tram in the Old Kent Road, my Mum had to call for a policeman from one of the Tardis boxes. We had my little baby brother Ray by this time, he had to be carried and I couldn’t walk with the pain in my backside. The policeman turned up and kindly carried me and mums bags home. Those were the days.

Just off the Old Kent Road at the end of Camelot Street sat a fish shop that always had a box of live eels outside. Seeing them wriggle about in that box put me off eels for a very long time. Growing up was easy as my big brother Fred was always there to protect us. Except when he sat on us to keep us quiet.

Saturdays was when we met our beloved Nan Ludford. She worked as a cleaner at the Savoy, while our Grandad Ludford was an alcoholic Docker. How she put up with him I will never know? One of us normally went down to visit Nan on a Saturday and then visit the Cut to buy loads of fruit and Penguin and broken biscuits with her hard earned wages. These were then transported back down to Camelot Street for the whole family. My Mum’s older brother Con and aunt Ada sometimes came to visit, but Mum loved her younger sister Doreen and her husbands visit most of all.

As we got older, we often stopped off at the Imperial War Museum on the way to Nan’s. Quite interesting if not a bit macabre for a nine year old.

Rarely did we visit Nanny King.

No cake or biscuits there, but a jam sandwich, if you were lucky. Grandad King worked on the bridges which were all being repaired after the war. He also had a bayonet wound in his stomach, but eventually died of gas inhalation from the war. Nanny King was of Jewish descent and ruled her side of the family with an iron rod. Her brother Rafertty was a sub-editor on the Daily Mail in Fleet Street. He bought a spitfire for the RAF but strangely wouldn’t help my Dad or his brothers (Lenny and Jimmy) get a job when they were de-mobbed. Dad just went back to T.P.Headlands on Westminster Bridge Road.

As I grew, I attended St Francis RC Junior School in Peckham. A great little school and I was always disappointed that I wasn’t able to take my eleven plus here.

Every Sunday we all went to Our Lady of Seven Dolors RC Church. A beautiful church and Monastery linked to the school. It also had a fabulous corridor of statues down the nave until one day a drunk Irishman decided to knock them all over!!

AGE 10 to AGE 20 (1957-1967)

At about ten we were on the move again.  Dad clearly felt that opportunities would be greater if we moved out of London. Fresh air and the countryside. We moved to 57, Doddsfield Road, Britwell, Slough. Into a brand-new semi-detached house.

Wonderful countryside area, especially Burnham Beeches.

Initially attended the brand new Claycots Primary School at bottom of the Road for half a year. Problem was there was no 11 plus here. Then went on to the newly built St Joseph’s RC Secondary School. New school and many new teacher’s just out of college.

To get there we took two busses the first of which passed our house, we then changed to another one in the Farnham Road. It was a terrible school as far as education was concerned. But heavy on the discipline with the cane being used on a regular basis, even for not completing homework. I recall having an argument with the geography teacher once and got sent to the headmaster because she thought that the Baha California was part of the USA. I would not accept her ignorance. Still, it fueled my love of Geography and desire to travel.

Had to go to Slough Technical College of Further Education, which is now a University, because St Joe’s didn’t even support GCE’s. Ended up with a few GCE’s which was a miracle. Had my first taste of freedom at Slough College and went to some great events and parties. It was at Slough College that I was introduced to American Spiritual and Gospel music. Loved it.

About this time, I also became a young Mod.

There were distinct differences from the true early mods 1960/61,

The first of the mainstream 62, the mainstream 1963/64, and then 3 years of little mods with Parkers. I started to go with the flow from late 61. The Italian & American fashions of the late 50's had a big influence. Shirts with tab collars or button down (Arrow) collars.

As a working-class London born teenager, I watched the change in fashion from Teds, to the Italian look, then on to a "modernist” fashion. I recall people looking strangely at our hand-made / home-made clothes. My Mother who had been a court dressmaker before the war, made many of my shirts and clothes in the early 60’s. I recall that my Mum made me a fabulous pair of Oxford bags when they were “in” for just a few weeks. She also helped me dye purple and shorten a pair of ankle swingers that I wore with my Hush-Puppies. Both my older and younger brothers had scooters. I had no money while still studying and later as an apprentice but wasn’t too concerned as I still had plenty of girlfriends. My first car was a £10 Morris Cowley which a girl had bought me, then to a sponge padded metallic blue Minivan and finally a lovely racing green Spitfire.

The Cowley saw its demise one snowy winter morning on my way to work. I turned the corner, but the heap of metal decided to go for a cruise across the icy road. Straight in front of an ambulance coming my way with the blue light flashing. The Cowley, even though built like a battle-ship was a right-off.

Many of us travelled by car rather than scooters to the various dance halls and the coast in the mid 60’s and the Mini-van was perfect for sleeping and carousing.

We travelled up and down the country visiting the big dancehalls and clubs. You still needed to travel mob handed. I was once chased out of Hammersmith Palace by a group wielding knives because I had unknowingly been chatting up some fella’s girlfriend.

On our way back from Acton in Tony’s little A30 we were surrounded by a huge mob of guys from the club. We thought it was the end. Tony’s window got smashed, but we just about got away at Chiswick. Next day Tony showed me a huge flick-knife that was the cause of the broken window. He and we were very lucky as these guys were high on Purple Hearts.

As a young mod, I loved dressing up and dancing. It was always the best way to attract the to the girls. The Carlton in Slough was great on Sunday afternoons. It completed the weekend and ran from 3pm until about 9pm. No alcohol though.  Best group that ever played there was probably the Rolling Stones. Entry only 7shillings and sixpence, but it was mainly a record dance evening.

Later I became a regular at the Ricky Tick in Windsor. Saw all the best US Motown and Blues stars. Saw Nina Simone, Ravi Shankar and Dionne Warwick at the Albert Hall. Also saw the first Motown show at the Hammersmith Odeon. It was a wonderful testosterone driven life.

Another girl introduced me to the all-nighters in London and I became a regular at the Last Chance in Oxford Street which didn't close until 7:30am on a Sunday morning. At around 6am the place used to start jumping again as The Scene mob arrived.

I remember that you used to have to go out for a bit of fresh air about 2am. My favourite, was to walk down to the Macabre Coffee shop just off Wardour Street. A little coffee bar that was full of skeletons and gravestones.

The Flamingo and Scene were also great clubs.  On Sunday afternoon, if I stayed in London, I would go see one of the top US visitors at the Flamingo like Stevie Wonder for peanuts.

Rarely was there any trouble. The Flamingo was full of black guys, but they were there for the music. A good bunch. There was one guy I saw stabbed outside the Last Chance. It turned out that he was selling short on the Blues and Purple Hearts. I myself never took anything. Mainly because I had read a few articles in Time Out, which I subscribed to, bout how marijuana and the rest could affect your brain. I wanted to stay in control and sane.

The Ricky Tick in Windsor was also a great hang out. Especially when Geno Washington and the Ram Jam were playing, but the Ricky Tick also attracted many of the great American and UK artists. Georgie Fame, Sister Rosetta Harp, etc.

Even the “The George” in the Farnham Road had The Animals playing before they became famous. Saw Chris Farlowe at Burtons in Uxbridge.

The Stones were a local band. Mick Jagger was going out with one of the St Bernard’s Convent girls Chrissie Shrimpton. They were always wandering around Slough together after school.

For my brother Fred’s wedding I splashed out and got a new suit made. Mohair was the goal, with chisel shoes. Hush Puppies were for the Chinos. Whatever, I always tried to look smart for the girlfriends because they always looked great.

I met my first serious girlfriend at the Carlton. Mogsy, Maureen Trimmings. She had asked a friend of hers to approach me. I said yes and we went from there. Eventually getting engaged. We hang around as a group of six. Bob and Barbara Oliver, Tony and Anne Watson, both of whom later got married. That didn’t happen to us. She got fed up with supporting a poor apprentice and went off and married someone else. Still for a few years we, as a group went everywhere. First over to Ostend for our first flight. Bought a lovely thin watch there duty free. Another time a flight down to Perpignan and on to the Spanish coast for a seaside holiday. The hotel wasn’t much with its salter showers, I recall buying a suede jacket there. I wanted to wear it in so wore it one evening on a beach walk. The driver of the train which also went along the beach, decided to sling some water out all over me. I was mortified. Luckily it was just water, which dried off and amazingly the customs guy was more interested in the watch I had previously bought in Ostend!!

Still, “Mogsy” bought me my first car. An old Morris Cowley. Unfortunately, it didn’t handle very well, especially in the snow. One early morning it decided to slide across the road when we turned a corner. Difficult for an ambulance with its blue light going to miss. The car was a right off.

After attending Slough College for the GCEs I started an Apprenticeship at Taylowe’s in Maidenhead as a Lithographer when I was seventeen. This was where my brother Fred was also an apprentice. Was supposed to go to Reading College once a week, but Taylowe’s kept stopping it. Apprentices in the print shop were just seen as cheap labour. I recall one time I was asked to run a flavoured varnish on Vesta Curry boxes. Smelt terrible and took days to get rid of the stench from the additive.

After my break-up I built up a cadre of friends down at the Pied Horse pub in Slough.

We had a run down to the coast a few times in my little metallic blue mini-van. Brighton, Hastings, Great Yarmouth and Southend. Didn’t make it to the Brighton rumpus as I was on shift, but the same places had mini events with loads of mods and just a few fights.

AGE 20 to AGE 30 (1967-1977)

SOUTH AFRICA

On completion of my apprenticeship I couldn’t wait to get out. My engagement to a girl had broken up a few years earlier and I was extremely fed up with the class system in the UK. After a long chat with Jack Seargent , the senior printer at Taylowe’s, I was determined to use my Apprenticeship as my passport to travel. The first job I applied for I was accepted. It was with the British Printing Corporation who had bought the failing Kirkland Press in Johannesburg. I emigrated to South Africa to work for Kirtland, taking a long distance flight from London to Jo’burg. I worked on a range of very large lithographic presses printing everything from cosmetic cartons to the cover of Time Magazine and earning very good money. I remember having to stop the presses when the man from Time magazine came in about 3am to sign the cover off. The sheets had adverts for skin whitening cream printed down the edge. To his credit he wanted everything destroyed. Another time I spent six hours cleaning all the rollers which had ground up rat all through the very large press. We were on a Kelloggs Cornflakes run. The other notable time was when the retiring Chairman of BPC came up to me on his retiring trip. He asked me why I hadn’t been writing to my mother?? He explained that she had contacted the head office and complained. I was so embarrassed and wrote a strong letter to Mum, but did increase the frequency of letters. No Text or email then.

Though no fan of the Unions the guys asked me to become the FOC. It was no big deal, but I set about organising the first company dinner dance. The company even gave a load of money towards it. It was a great success.

Initially I stayed at a hotel, then moved down to Hillbrow and stayed first in a studio at Golden Sands and then in the Summit Club.  The Summit had a gym and a nightclub. I thought that I would meet nice women but had a poor social life until I moved down to a small residential hotel for young people and then met loads in the dining room. Here I met Maria.

We started dating and finally got married in 1971.

Once we agreed to get engaged and married, I had to go up to Salisbury, Rhodesia to meet Marias parents. We were on standby for the flight as it was Christmas. No luck, so ended up driving through the night on the dangerous, often single-track road between Beit-Bridge and Salisbury with my little 6volt Volkswagen. Her parents were not instant fans as I was not Portuguese, but they accepted me.

We made two other trips to Rhodesia. One flight with my mate Jeff fand Maria or a couple of days. Jeff later decided to give up his career as a Hairdresser and thumb his was around South America and up the Trans American Highway. He made it and eventually got up to Toronto. I also made another trip with Maria to stay at the Falls Hotel next to the Victoria Falls. While there we also had a flight over the Falls and got some amazing photos.

Had a great time for a few years. Best was going down one mile in a gold mine then seeing the gold being processed and handling a bar of gold in Welkcom. We also went on Safari to the Kruger National Game Park staying at one of the Lodges. After this I swore that I would never go to a Zoo again. The wildlife was truly magnificent.

Worst was the weekend in Swaziland where we heard a young child call the waiter at breakfast “Boy”. From that day we decided that we did not want our future children to think and act this way and hence started to plan our next big move. Apartheid was not for us. We made a trip down to Cape Town through the Kalahari Dessert to apply for emigration at the Brazilian Embassy.  Driving down we visited the DeBeers mine, which was just a big hole. We stayed overnight at St George. Having left the lights on while we went off to dinner, we were stung by mosquitos all night. Not as serious as the swarm of wasps that landed on the car going through the dessert. We simply kept all the windows shut and closed down the aircon. That poor little Volkswagen was suffering. Our next issue was a sudden bang. I stopped to check it out and couldn’t find anything. Bang, I stopped again still nothing. After this happening a few times I realized that it was the battery leaking and the liquid acid dropping down onto the exhaust. Unfortunately, the dessert was no place to fix this, so we had to put up with the noise until we got to Cape Town. The idea of initially going to Brazil was to enable me to learn Portuguese. After a few years we were then planning on going to Canada. Neither the UK nor Portugal interested either of us. Once we had visited the Brazilian Embassy, I had to write my life history. Maria got her immigration papers no problem as she had a Portuguese passport. Still eventually I got the nod, but not the stamp. We then left Cape Town after a trip up Tabletop mountain and a boozy visit to the KWV distillery in Stellenbosch. We then made our way up the garden route to Durban. A wonderful trip with beautiful scenery along the way. Maria even bought some Ostrich Boas to go on her wedding dress at the Ostrich Farm.

When we finally got to Durban, I was looking forward to celebrating my birthday with a rest but couldn’t find a hotel. They were holding the World Bowls championship and they took all the accommodation. A night in the car was not my idea of fun so we begged the Oyster Box at Umhlanga Rocks to let us have a room that they were repairing. It turned out that a few tiles had falling off in the bathroom. Beautiful Hotel and a lovely evening celebrating my birthday with a lobster and champagne dinner overlooking the bay.

Once everything had been approved, we went back to the UK for the wedding.

My Dad did most of the planning for the wedding. I simply chose the suit which I had made and the shoes which were high platformed in blue from the Kings Road. The wedding was held at St Ethlebert’s and the reception took place at the Britwell Social Club. My best man was Johnny Gardner. Don’t know what happened to him.

We then spent the honeymoon night at the Complete Angler and then moved to the Wrens Hotel by the water in Windsor. The national press came to see us as they had thought that I was marrying a coloured girl from South Africa under apartheid. Being summer in South Africa Maria had a good tan. We had to let them down.

After a few days we said goodbye to everyone and flew off to Lorenco Marques in Mozambique for the next part of our honeymoon. While at the five-star Paloma Hotel we met a few lovely people including a white hunter with his girlfriend who was part of the Forte family.

BRAZIL

After another week or two packing up in Jo’burg we set off for the second main part of our honeymoon which was going to be in fabulous Rio for three weeks. We flew Varig and interestingly Dame Margot Fontein sat just in front of us. Even though we were only economy she wanted a row of seats so she could sleep, and this was the answer. Coming into land it was clear that Rio would live up to the dream. An Amazing City, but eventually after three weeks we had to start thinking about work and settling down in our new country. Rio did not have many jobs so we had already decided to go down to Sao Paulo where we believed there would be more opportunities. The problem was I couldn’t speak any Portuguese. Maria got a job straight away at the Australian Embassy while I sat around getting depressed. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Sao Paulo is not a pretty city and then one of the high-rise buildings caught fire. Scary as people started jumping off the roof and fire engines helicopters couldn’t reach anyone. It was The Towering Inferno. At this point we were ready to give up but decided that nothing should defeat us. As we needed to register at the British Consulate we started to befriend many of the local English speakers there. These friends at the British Consulate in turn took us to SPAC Sao Paulo Athletic Club, Rua Visconde de Ouro Preto, 119. This is where they played the first game of soccer in Brazil and where we met even more English-speaking locals.

They were very good to us and even when the Portuguese wouldn’t renew her passport because she had married an Englishman. They helped us out. Maria had become stateless with no passport or nationality, so one of the vice consuls rushed through documentation to make her British. I am sure this would not be possible today.

We still didn’t have our luggage and had to employ clearing agents (despachantes) with the help of the Australian Consulate to customs clear our belonging from South Africa which finally arrived in November 1973. When unpacking one of the tea-chests I found a huge photo of Ian Smith the Prime Minister of Rhodesia. Clearly an important item of Maria’s which she had kept secret.

I was desperate to learn Portuguese and started a course in 1974 at the Fundacao Uniao Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos, Rua Cel. Oscar Porto, 208

My first job initially was as a consultant with Rondo Brasileira de Embalagens which I got through a SPAC friend Richard who represented Yardleys in Brazil. This came to an abrupt end when I stayed too long in Rio for an extended first Carnival. Luckily shortly after I was offered a position as technical supervisor with Canadian Moore Formularios, also through contacts at SPAC and the British Consulate. I joined them in March 1974. A great move and a happy one gradually being promoted to Manager and then to Long Term Planning Manager.

In November 1975 we completed a meditation course at SIM Sociadade International de Meditacao Rua Guarara,466.

Eventually I learnt to speak fluent Portuguese reasonably well, mainly because no one spoke English and slowly life began to become more enjoyable.

Initially we lived in Rua Azevedo Macedo, 70, Apto. 101, Vila Mariana, Sao Paulo. This was the previous home of Bob Prior who would become my boss at Moore. He had had a short split with his wife.

After this we moved to Peixoto Gomide, 700, Apt 134. (June1974 -July 1978) just off the Avenida Paulista

I joined Moore Formularios in March 1974. By Nov. 1974 was able to purchase for cash a brand-new GM Chevette Deep Blue EL6394 which meant that I no longer had to take the company bus from Lapa to Osasco.

In January through June 1976 completed a photographic course at Escola de Fotografia Imagem-Acao and Camera Photoagentur Ltda in Sao Paulo which my slowly improving Portuguese enabled.

One day driving back from my photography course down Avenida Nove de Julio, I could see huge flames rising up. It looked as if it was more or less in the area where we lived. All of a sudden, the traffic started to stop so I moved onto the Central reservation and across the road. I got as close as I could and just abandoned the car and just kept running. When I eventually got to the apartment, I could see that it was the building opposite. When I got to the apartment it was empty and an hour later, I found Maria and our precious Siamese Verushka safe and well in the street.

In June 1976 was able to finally start sending money back to England for our long-term future.

AGE 30 to AGE 40 (1977-1987)

Between June and December1977 I completed Basic Marketing course at the Fundacao Brasileiro de Marketing, Alemeda Santos, 2326, Sao Paulo. As I achieved first place in class, I was offered the Advanced course in Marketing for free.

To further improve my confidence and Portuguese, in February 1978 I completed class 59 of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends in Portuguese. It certainly did me a lot of good and got me out of my shell.

In March 1978 Signed up and completed CIAE VI at the Instituto de Treinamento e Desolvimento de Executivos for “Intensivo Administracao de Emprego” (Intensive Course in Corporate Administration). My Portuguese was now getting quite fluent.

In May 1978 I contracted Hepatitis from some meal or food. It had me laid up for weeks. The company doctor came and visited me a few times.

With our joint salaries we were able to live very well. Later we moved to a very large apartment in Thomaz Carvalhalo, 704, Apt 91 (July 1978 – October 1979). This took us to the time we left Brazil.

In February 1979 we upgraded the car to a new Ford Corcel II Belina LDO in Autumn Beige. As the wife was found to be pregnant with twins and we definitely would need an estate car.

We regularly went to SPAC-Sao Paulo Athletic Club which was basically the British Club. Knew everyone but were never members. Still friends with Julia Smith, David Stephens, Mark Prior etc. They all emigrated to Canada. Together we went on many weekend trips and holidays. Most years we would go to the Carnival in Rio. Sao Paulo’s Carnival was at that time quite second rate. Rio on the other hand was absolutely mind blowing especially the wild Balls and even just the street parades. The best trip was when I brought out my Mum and Dad. Went down to Rio, but we also visited Campos de Jordao and Iguacu Falls where we stayed at the Cataratas Hotel. Whilst there I was able to take them across the border to Argentina and Paragua. To keep costs down we took a sleeper bus (only 19 Sleeper beds) from Sao Paulo. They both loved every minute, my Dads favourite were the Churascurias as he was a big meat eater.

Successfully completed the entrance exam and started studying at the Faculdade de Ciencas Economicas e Contabilidade e Administracao, Mackenzie University.  Matriculation 3795039

The job at Moore went from strength to strength. I was asked by my new boss to go and find an alternative location for a second plant first in Southern Brazil and later in the North. The Southern search took me first to Porto Alegre which was where they were still negotiating a deal. This fell through while I was away. I discounted a number of towns Floreanapolis and Curitiba included but one of my options was Blumenau. As I drove into the town I was super impressed with the cleanliness and Germanic orderliness of the place. A trip to the local Mayors office clarified that they had land and tax incentives going. On return to Sao Paulo I wrote up my findings which were sent to Toronto along with a draft plan. This was approved and I took the local Chief Accountant with me to see what could be done. The first piece of land was less than impressive, so we negotiated the Johnson and Johnson plot. After a lot of haggling they agreed. Toronto agreed and the building plans went ahead. Recife was more of an existing company purchase. This also went ahead after a large reduction in our offer price.

Adrian and Rowland King were born in the Santo Amaro hospital in Sao Paulo 11th July 1979 via the Leboyer method. We saw the gynaecologist and a short snippet about the method on the Show Fantastico on Globo. He had just returned from Paris and it was just being introduced into Brazil. Maria had already been diagnosed as pregnant but she wasn’t happy with her companies (Colgate Palmolive) medical plan and neither would mine cover the private fees. She went along and he said that she was pregnant with twins. This was going to be expensive. It is understood that the twins were the first twins to be born by the method. In the dark it was a natural birth and there were quite a few people crying, myself and the gynaecologist included.

Quite magical and worth every penny. They were perfect. Fortunately, we could afford a nurse as well as our maid, to help out at home.

At about this time Moore had just bought out a European Forms Company. The new International management were visiting South America and I was lucky enough to meet them. Later they offered me a role in what they were doing in London which I quickly accepted as it would give the grandparents a chance to see their grandchildren. Even though I loved Brazil it was time to leave.  

AGE 40 to AGE 50 (1987-1997)

We returned to England with a Moore company transfer when the boys were only 3 months old. It was the youngest that the airline would let them fly. Moore had bought Europe’s largest Forms manufacturer Lamson-Paragon and wanted to inject some modern work practices.

Though we loved Brazil, we wanted the boys to know their Grandparents in England and Portugal. I commuted to and from the European HQ on the South Bank.

ENGLAND

First, we lived with my parents because I was trying to save the living allowance to towards our new home. Then we moved to Bromley where the boys were Christened.

Understandably, Maria didn’t get on with my mother who never held back. So, as the pair were always bickering Maria asked her English boss in Brazil if we could rent his apartment. Of course, he agreed. So, weekdays were work at the offices in Southbank and weekends was searching for a house in an expensive market. Finally, with my fathers’ help I bought my first house in Maidenhead. 14, All Saints Avenue. A lovely three bedroom detached which my ex still lives in and is worth substantially more. As Training Manager I first introduced Quality Circles. An initiative that was new to the UK and Europe at the time. Then went on to write a number of other programmes including Negotiating and Advanced Negotiation Skills. I also produced a complete Train the Trainer programme.

NETHERLANDS

Moore Business Forms moved me to Amsterdam about a year after arriving in the UK. The wife didn’t approve of Amsterdam as a place to bring up two young boys and we had only just bought the Maidenhead house, but I had no choice. Having been away so long I had no contacts or network. So, they stayed in Maidenhead and I tried to commute at weekends. I also had to learn Dutch. Not easy, but as I had a few Dutch speakers who spoke no English this was a necessity.

After a twelve-month assignment I missed the boys and decided to leave Moore. I had been approached to set up DDI (development Dimensions International) consultants in the UK. A large US Management Development company. Their preferred candidate, a professor at Henley Management College had pulled out, so I was seen as a backstop. As part of the recruitment process I had to fly to Pittsburg to complete a two-day Assessment Test with all the management team making the decision. I passed.

ENGLAND

The position was back in the UK. Over time had to train up as a Master Trainer in Pittsburg for each programme as part of the set-up from about 1986. I also had a lot of assistance from John Dobbs, my International Manager. These were generally two-week training sessions and covered everything from Supervisor Training (Interaction Management), Recruitment and Selection (Targeted Selection), Assessment and Behaviour Analysis (Assessment Centres) to Executive Development (Targeted Management) and Productivity Initiatives (Resources Management). It was a great success, growing from zero to one million turnover in just three years. Large inhouse programmes were also installed in many major blue-chip companies including British Telecom, ICL/Fujitsu, Digital Computers, etc. I made many trips back and forwards to Pittsburgh and used the points to even get a holiday in Hawaii thanks to a new Pan Am promotion. But then they changed the International Manager. I did not get on with the new guy and after a falling out decided to leave and join Farrell Consulting in 1986/7, also a major US Consultancy to run their European operation. They had similar Supervisory and Executive programmes and also offered a good base level workers programme, a matching Zenger-Miller Frontline Leadership programme and Z-Ms Strategic Selling, plus Z-M Group Action. Farrell had a great Entrepreneurial initiative as well as Communispond’s excellent Executive Presentation, Media and Effective Writing Skills programme. Loved it. I continued to evolve the Executive Presentation Skills programme from running public courses in Mayfair to helping me get into Tandem/HP to running a more complete programme in Japan for my staff. This gave me a few International trips. One to Princeton/New York to become a Master Trainer for the presentation Company. Another to Berkley for the Management development programmes were and yet another to Manilla, Philippines via Bangkok, Thailand for a Farrell Leaders Convention.

In 1987, Tandem, a client made an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I had quoted them on a large set of presentation programmes which they thought were too pricy, so they asked me to join them at a very substantial uplift in my salary. So naturally I joined their European office in High Wycombe as Sales Training Manager focusing on developing and delivering a leading “Account Management programme across Europe and the Middle East as well as the Executive Presentation programme. After a bit of executive presentation and Media coaching of the European Board I was asked to become European Quality Director in Amsterdam, Netherlands January 1979. Both jobs gave me five-star travel around Europe> ensured that I always had time for sightseeing if it was a new city.

Of course, it also meant more training, this time in Cupertino, USA. Usually two-week assignments with time for weekend trips to San Francisco and even Alcatraz. Drives up the 101 Coastal Road to the Aquarium at Monterey. But the best was a skydive near Cupertino. Scary, but a once in a lifetime. I had been in Cupertino for another training event. The lead instructor was a skydiver and had asked the whole mixed class of predominately American students who wanted to go Skydiving. All the Americans said yes and most of the Europeans also agreed. When the Sunday came around, every-one of the gung-ho Americans had pulled out which just left the six Europeans to up in the old DC3.

It was at this time I broke up with my first wife and started running long distance. We had not been getting along for a long time. I then started running. Tandem was one of the sponsors for the London Marathon so I was able to gain an entry. My first attempt was in 1988. Where I covered the distance in an official time of 4 hours 7mins. Actually, a lot less than this with the huge crowds just to get to the start. The next year I was determined to come in under the 4-hour clock time. So, with a little bit more training I hit 3 hours 57mins. Even better as I coached my bosses’ boss over the line in less than 4 hours. He had been flagging near the end and needed a booster. This actually helped my career a lot after the Marathon.

Working out of Amsterdam was too far away from my sons so I decided to look for a job back in the UK. I eventually took a Tandem Alliance Manager role in Birmingham.  Birmingham being too far from Maidenhead and the boys I then moved to Honeystone Cottage, Cooks Hill, Shutford on 20 June 1987.

A do-upper which needed many weekends of restoration of this Grade 2 listed Cottage.  Listed just two months after I bought it.

I joined Shutford Parish Council and became Vice Chairman. The BT connection was helpful in getting Oxford to put in the pole for the fire basket during the Queens celebrations atop Jesters Hill. Good times.

Stupidly, for even more money I was persuaded to take up a position as Sales and Marketing Director of CBC a new software consultancy. When 3i’s pulled the plug on them a few months later I was left unemployed with two boys in private boarding school. After many months I finally took a job with British Telecom as an internal consultant for half the salary. After a successful six months and an in-depth uncommissioned report which I presented to one of the BT Boards, I was asked if I would take over responsibility for BAe and Rover as Account Director. I found an outsourcing bid about to start and aligned BT with EDS. BT had no experience of outsourcing and was not keen, but the board was willing to back me. After over 18 months we eventually closed a 40million pound contract with BAe and CSC. BT’s largest contract to that date. I was awarded a trip to the Caribbean and was offered the role of Account Director for IBM. It was at this time that I had my first cancer operation to remove a Kidney Tumor. I later took over management of a large number of IT companies to which I introduced third party selling. We grew at 30% per year which made a few internal enemies as well as Mercury. Being Outsourcing some revenue was coming from other accounts.

In June 1996 I also had a Suture removed at the Foscote.

When my own manager was leaving BT Global I had hoped to get his job, but it was offered to a BT politician who asked me to leave the role. Jon clearly felt threatened.

AGE 50 to AGE 60 (1997-2007)

JAPAN

So, I put out the feelers and got the job of COO for a joint venture that BT had in Japan. A quick trip in late December 1999 clenched the deal. I went out there in July 2000 with a good contract and growing responsibility. Initially I worked out of the BT Network Services office at 13-5 Kudankita 1-Chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. The following year in July/August 2001 I made a stop-over in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia on my way back to the UK. I loved the Far East.

Loved my visit to Ankor Wat which in those days had easy access everywhere. Though wasn’t too happy during my visit to the S-21 Prison School which served as a death camp for the Pol Pot regime in Phnom Peng. Horrific.

During my time at BT Japan I slowly advanced and was eventually placed with Japan Telecom as one of two Secondees after we had bought a third of the company.

During my stay I joined the Tokyo American Club, the best club in Japan where I met many great international members.

I loved everything about life in Japan and BT looked after me very well. I recall climbing Mount Fuji through the night and arriving at the top for sunrise. Memorable and I still have the boots and stick to prove it. Another evening I spent with Georgie Best who was at a local sports bar with his wife and agent. As the Japanese guys were afraid to speak to him, he was more than happy to chat all evening with myself and my mate Paul, who was an avid Manchester United fan.

In 2000, with the help of my sons, I purchased the Kitto Road property. This enabled the boys to move in together. Rowland being still at Birmingham University, this was more weekends. Adrian, who was now studying at Goldsmith’s, which was close by no longer had to rent. They furnished it with my money, but it did look nice. At a later date I bought the freehold, which made a huge difference when the time came to sell. We made a very good profit, which enabled me to “Gift” each of them. This made a critical difference in putting them on the property ladder. 

At the end of the contract in November 2001 I took a deviated route back to the UK via Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to catch up with old friends from BT, the UK and Tandem. I walked the Sydney Bridge, dived off the Great Barrier Reef and swam with dolphins off the coast of South Island of NZ. I went back to Japan a few times in 2002 on short assignments and even though Japan Telecom offered me a position I decided to stick with BT who were pulling out of the country. We sold our holdings to Softbank for an obscene profit. I came back as a Corporate Strategy Manager but didn’t enjoy the role.  All paperwork and no people. Left British Telecom in 2004 with a nice redundancy package and trained up as a Financial Adviser with DeVere. Graduating with a trip to Monaco. The original plan was to return to Japan, but the MD heard me speaking Portuguese to my ex-wife and I was asked to go back to Sao Paulo. I flew there in July 2004.

BRAZIL

The role in Sao Paulo was not how it had been described and at first I was disappointed. But I moved companies and things began to improve. Speaking Portuguese was certainly a big plus factor.

Though successful, Brazil had changed, a lot more drugs related crime and when offered a move to a Regional role in Thailand in May, 2005 I foolishly jumped at it.

THAILAND

Unbeknown to me there had been a breakaway in the Far East. I would be expected to start a new company without support and sales people. I neither had the contacts or investment from Brazil to do this. After meeting up with the owner that had paid my flight and who had flown to the Philippines, I decided I would have to leave the original brokerage and join up with Ken Golby, the breakaway manager. At least I didn’t have to invest and possibly lose six months earnings while I built up the business. I had only employed one guy who I intensively trained and then sent off to Shanghai. Even though he stayed with the original company, while I left, I always supported and advised him.

In joining up with Ken Golby I had negotiated the handover of many clients across Asia. This meant continuous business trips to Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, Russia and Cambodia. I was even able to come back to Europe to meet with clients in the Netherlands, UK and even Portugal. 2006 saw even more trips back to Holland and Germany. I always found time to meet up with friends and family in the UK and Portugal. Trips across Asia to Korea, Taiwan, Laos, China, and Russia were all very profitable with clients mainly working in the Oil and Gas industry. What had initially been a difficult move turned into a great travel-holics dream.

OMAN

With the rapid growth of business in the Middle East I was then offered and accepted a role covering the area in 2006. Initially I did this from Bangkok. With trips to Oman, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE/Dubai. Syria proved the most dangerous, but not excessively so. Most of my clients were either Shell or UN personnel. Eventually I had to move there and set up shop in Oman. Lovely country and really nice people.  During my stay in Oman I met a great running/drinking friend Cliff. He had heard of these bunch of ‘nutters’ who met in the dessert, ran a bit then drank a lot. We thought this was a great idea as alcohol was hard to come by. It was a great invitation to the world of Hashing. A big Omani named me and the others agreed. “KingKok”. Bit stupid, but so were all the other names. India was my next stretch with a trip to tree lined Bangalore to meet up with clients who had moved there. In 2007, I continued to service and meet up with my clients in Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Russia. Russia was Sakhalin Island. It was everything that you could think of as old soviet. Streets lined with dilapidated cement clad apartment blocks. No one smiling and mediocre food. Still this meant that the Shell Gas people were more than willing to work with a broker. On one trip back via Seoul I stopped off for a long weekend in Tokyo. I realized that I really missed the vibe. Omanis were lovely people, but I was put off quite a bit when the country was hit by a huge Cyclone “Gonu” hit. Severe winds, heavy rains and an extremely high storm surge hit on June 7th 2007, causing over 50 deaths and more than $4.2bn in damages. Washing my car away and nearly washing the apartment away when the dam broke. A terrible and frightening few days. After the flood that engulfed the apartment area where I was living, Cliff and Rambo came around to my apartment to check if I was still alive. I was, just about. I had got everyone from the apartment block onto the roof and especially the ground floor which was still flooded. Everyone was safe, unlike a carload of Omanis that had driven into an excavation hole just opposite. The bodies were winched out the next morning. Cliff and I decided to drive around where we could and see the damage. The Toyota compound must have been stocked with 500 brand new Land Cruiser cars all full of mud and sand. Never mind they replaced them over the next few weeks. The Sultan would accept no charity from Dubai or any of the neighbouring arab states. There was a complete news blackout. One truck loaded with water got through before he put up the blocks. A strange sight was the beach which was strewn with shoes.  The five-star Chedi Hotel, just near my apartment was a complete washout as it was all single story. The huge national mosque had to have all its Persian carpets replaced. A weekend to forget. The best was a weekend crossing the dessert in 4x4’s with an Omani friend and a group of locals including one UAE Sheikh in an amazing custom-made vehicle. He told me that he had another with sleeping pods and yet another with a helicopter. He still got stuck like the rest of us, but his entourage of vehicles always got him out.  In 2007 I also made another trip out to India to meet with clients in Bangalore and Delhi. Giving me a wonderful chance to visit the Taj Mahal and Red Fort.

JAPAN

Even though I had been considering it for some time, in 2007 I had a fallout with the Administration manager at the Bangkok HQ and decided after the Cyclone that I would leave and move back to Tokyo. Clearly not for financial gain, but just for a better quality of life.

AGE 60 to AGE 70 (2007-2018)

JAPAN

With the help of a few old contacts I first joined Temple Bar and then eventually went across to GWM as deputy manager. Didn’t make a lot of earnings in either but was so much happier in Tokyo.

Decided to start running with the Hash here where I met many wonderful people. Joined and ran with the Tokyo Hash, The Friday Hash, The Ladies Hash (allowed a few men), The Sumo Hash and the Samurai Hash. All of which kept me fit and healthy.

In 2009, after a lot of Hashing, I decided to enter the 2009 Tokyo Marathon. This made three Marathons. Not bad for an old man.

On one evening out with a hashing friend I met Xiang.

I thought at first that she was Japanese, but then discovered that she was Chinese. She was a language teacher so taught, Mandarin. Later back in England she also taught Japanese. We saw each other regularly and even with an age difference we got on well together. Though I had always said that I would not marry again, I felt that Xiang and I would work out.  So, we visited England and even though understandably my sons were very much against it, Xiang and I decided to get married. The marriage was a Japanese civil ceremony in Saitama. We had a big party with all the Hashers at a nightclub in Shibuya including special T-shirts and later a Chinese ceremony and all-day wedding in Xiang’s hometown. This consisted of bangers going off in the streets to start which were amazing. Then the wedding oaths and dedications to Xiang’s family followed by a huge multi-course lunch for about eighty people. Including turtle soup (Yek!) I thought that was it but then they had a long break playing mahjong and then another food session.

On one of our trips back to the UK I needed some surgery. On this particular day the Fukoshima Earthquake hit Japan. Xiang and I had a long chat and decided to move to Europe and settle down here. We had tenants so had to wait a while for them to move out, so we stayed at the villa in Portugal.

ENGLAND

On finally returning to the UK we joined the Bicester and Oxford Hashes.

At that time, I thought that I would be spending half my time in the Algarve so I also joined the PHNL Lodge and the Hash in the Algarve.

In 2013 I agreed to lead the Shutford Plan along with research and outcomes which greatly assisted the foundation work for the new Village Hall.

I was also on the working party that renovated the Telephone Box, enhancing the village green.

At the moment I presently manage the Shutford Archives and have used many vintage photos for Shutford Calendars and Christmas cards.

On 27th April, 2013 Rowland married Katie.

On 5th July, 2014 Adrian married Jess

Even though we had agreed not to have children, I relented and after a lot of difficulty, Jiali-Alice was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on 22nd October 2014. The best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t know how I can be so lucky. With a wonderful daughter and loads of beautiful grandchildren.

It’s been a wonderful life.

Recent stories

Lining up ducks at Honeystone Cottage

Shared by mark drewniak on March 15, 2021
I thought I’d share some personal memories.
I travelled up to Honey Stone Cottage many times to visit Ken, Xian and lovely Alice. Sometimes I'd call in alone or bring my wife Fu-chan. 
During one such visit, I recall a fun experience. Ken really was a part of the community there. Part of the church community too. Pleasant with neighbours. Known amongst the locals. There was always a knock on the door.  
On that particular visit, on one early, dark evening a knock arrived. A very local chap, a very countryside English voice, I think a gamekeeper on one of the estates, if my memory serves, rapped on the wooden front door. “Ayyy Yo Ken” and such local blarney, “I’ve a couple of ducks I’ve shot – d’ya care for?”
Holding up 2 dead ducks to Ken’s blank face. Ken, too polite to say “no”, accepted cold dead ducks with a look of bewilderment. Xian too mouth dropping as Ken wades in from the front door, through the lounge to the kitchen with cold wet smelly fowl.
“No problem” I say. “We used to pluck chooks at home as a kid” (My Dad, transported form his farm in Poland, was a suburban farmer in Adelaide. Lots of chooks. At once stage I think we had 50 ducks in the yard – good job the council didn’t get wind!)
 Into the sink with the birds! Boil up some water! It was like a production line surgery! Boiling water. Sharpened scalpels. Feathers flying. Guts wrenched. All from memory. But and hour or so later two perfectly presented prize birds ready sitting up to attention, ready for the next day’s roast. 
And delicious they were. Xian and Ken are a great cooking combination.
 So, such was the story. And of course Ken shared it around amongst the neighbors. 
A village is a village after all….
Sitting indoors a few evenings later, chatting after a days adventure, perhaps running through the glorious country side, a knock on the door. Ah. It’s the gamekeeper again! “Ohh.. Ken I hear you liked those ducks”… or such like. “Here’s three more for you – one each o ya!”. Ah… All our jaws dropped this time. Back to the plucking board! Pluck a duck!
Mark and Fu-chan Drewniak

One story about Ken and his hashing family from Tokyo

Shared by Danny Guillot on March 1, 2021
I first met KEN in June 2008 in Bali Indonesia, my home at the time. He came on vacation from Tokyo to hash with Bali Hash House Harriers. On his first day of his 7 day vacation, he came to the hash location in the jungle and we very quickly became friends. By the end of his 7 days, we hashed together 3 times and I informed KEN that I was moving to Tokyo next month(August 2008) to start a new role with my company. I took him to the airport and told him I will be in Tokyo soon and he could teach me his to use the train system. 

As planned upon my arrival, Ken would meet me at my apartment every Monday Wednesday Friday and Sunday to take me on the train to all of the different hash groups. It took me about a month to learn as I am from Louisiana and from bayou country .

We spent a lot of time wining and dining when not hashing, and became very good friends in a very short time.

On December 2008, several months after my arrival in Tokyo, we were on the Friday Hash when I received a call from my daughter that my 22 year old son had passed away. He had been fighting pancreatic cancer for 4 years and I had just returned to Japan in November for thanksgiving holiday to visit him. I knew he was slowing getting weaker , but the shock of the call devastated me while with Ken . Immediately KEN gathered my hash gear and took me to my apartment and booked my airline travel to the USA. I don't know what I would have done without Ken that day. I was new in Japan and just learning my way. 

We became very close friends, more like brothers as time went on. I remember when he met Xiang and he told me he was going to marry her. I could see clearly that he was very happy. So we put together a hash wedding to make this special day just that much more special with all of his hash friends present. It was truly a wonderful day and they were so happy.

Ken left Japan over a year later and returned to the UK. I left Japan shortly after he did for a new role in PNG.

About 15 months ago I informed KEN that I was retired and wanted to move to Portugal and live. He could hardly believe this. He immediately started sending me information on Portugal regarding realtors and property. I knew he was happy that I made that decision.

Now my best friend and true brother had left us and has left a huge void in our lives, my plans have not changed. I am moving ahead with my plans and I will miss drinking wine and bbqing with him as we had planned once I arrived.

Rest In Peace KEN I will always cherish our great times together and the wonderful memories we made together