Tribute for community stalwart Ken
29 June 2010
Community leaders in Meir have paid tribute to a leading light of the area following his untimely death. For many years Ken Graham fought hard for his community with tenacity and determination. He was a founder member of the Meir Community Steering Group and instrumental in helping the area fight for a place to call its own.
Here is an obituary to him.
Kenneth William Graham was born on 20th February 1935 the first of five children of William and Elizabeth Graham. As a boy he lived at Weston Place , Longton, and went to Cooke Street and Edensor Schools . He was keen on sport, mainly cricket and football, and he loved reading.
On leaving school Ken went to work at Edward and Jones Engineers. He then went to Embury’s Bakery as a driver’s mate delivering bread and cakes all over Staffordshire. At 17 he volunteered for the Royal Navy where he stayed for 12 years rising to the rank of petty officer serving on a number of ships: HMS Eagle, Albion, Consort, Sultan, Maidstone and many others.
He also played football and cricket for the Navy. When he left the Navy he joined the A.E.I. as a security officer. He worked there for a few months before becoming an employee at the Michelin Tyre Company where he worked in the boiler house using the skills he had gained while he was in the Navy. He remained at the Michelin for the rest of his working life.
A family man, Ken was married and had three daughters.
Much missed by everyone who knew him, Ken was highly intelligent and articulate. He stayed keen on sport all his life and was a member of Lancashire, Warwickshire and Longton Cricket Club. He also kept score for the under 11s at Caverswall Cricket Club and was respected and well liked by all the parents and children of Caverswall Cricket Club.
Ken also loved dancing and socialising, enjoyed gardening and was always fit and active. And he loved cats and dogs. He excelled at crosswords especially cryptic ones. As a boy he was also a keen train spotter and remained fascinated by steam, taking trips to exhibitions and making model steam engines. In 1996 he moved to Tawney Crescent to take care of his father which he did until his father’s death in 2003. During this time he was a founder member of the Tawney Wood Residents’ Association and remained an active member until his untimely death on 10th January 2010.
Ken was friendly and very well liked but above all, friends and family say he was modest about his achievements and didn’t like anyone to make a fuss about his undoubted contribution to the community where he lived.
Says Maggie Carter, chair of Meir Community Steering Group: “Ken was very modest but incredibly well liked. He wanted to do things and do them quietly.
“He always said he didn’t do it for recognition and he didn’t want a fuss made. But he did so much for the community. Far beyond what he should have been doing. He did it because he cared. For years he got up at six every morning so he could walk down to the local children’s playground and clear the place up of litter so the children wouldn’t have to see it as they made their way to school. I’ve no idea who will do that now he’s gone.
“One of the main things that came out of the community consultation was the need for a place to use as a focal point for the community where residents could meet, hold meetings and much more. This was spearheaded by the Community Steering Group and Ken was a founder member of the group. Ken was instrumental in helping us fight for a place the community could call its own. RENEW working in partnership with the City Council and Great Places gave us two three-bedroom semi-detached houses on the estate and these were knocked together to create The Square Community Resource Centre.
The community committee at The Square is due to take the lease over. The Square Community Resource Centre was opened in May 2009. And the meeting room that the steering group and other groups meet in has now been dedicated to Ken and is named after him. Every time we open the door to that room, Ken will be with us. Ken was an inspiration, dedicated and much loved.” added Maggie.
Ken is sorely missed by all members of his close knit family, friends and everyone in the community he was so happy to serve for so long.