- By Elaine Bird
- 09 October 2019
A much-loved Hunstanton character has died aged 95.
Ken Arnott passed away at the Queen Elizabeth hospital after a short illness. He is remembered for being an inspirational teacher, historian, writer and correspondent and John Maiden has written this tribute to a man who will be sadly missed.
When Ken was just three years old his father died, leaving his mother to bring up three boys on her own. Although he was born in Scotland and proud of it, Hunstanton was his adopted home for more the seven decades. At the age of ten, Ken moved from Edinburgh to Worcestershire, where he became something of a star pupil at his new school, because his spelling and handwriting were above average!
His first job was as an articled clerk to a firm of chartered accountants in Birmingham.
He then spent three years in the Royal Navy serving as a radar operator during WWII. After being demobbed he came across a newspaper article on the Cricket Book Society, which produced booklets for members throughout the world, although the Society had been established in Hunstanton by the famous cricket statistician Roy Webber.
Ken had never heard of the town, but as a keen amateur cricket statistician he contacted Roy and came to work with him in January 1947.
Roy lived half way down Chapel Bank, and one morning, when the roads were blocked by drifts after a heavy snowfall, Ken walked across fields to help Roy dig out his car.
The office was at 67 Westgate, which prior to the war had been used by the local magistrates. It was here that Ken provided statistical appendices for several cricket tour books. He also collaborated with Roy on "The History of Glamorgan County Cricket Club". However, after some fifteen cricket publications, the Cricket Book Society was wound up and Ken joined Fisher's Press Agency. In due course he took over the Lynn News 'Beachcomber' column from Graham Fisher. In addition to writing this weekly column he also covered the NW Norfolk League in his 'Norwester' reports, even after embarking on a demanding career as a primary school teacher.
As local correspondent for both the Lynn News and EDP, Ken clocked up more than twelve thousand news reports. As if teaching and Journalism were not enough, Ken was also very active in the community. He played cricket for Hunstanton for nearly a quarter of a century and organised Hunstanton and District Festival of Arts for ten years - first as chairman and later as Festival Director. During this time he brought many famous performers to town, including Evelyn Glennie, Prunella Scales, Humphrey Lyttleton, Richard Baker and the London Community Gospel Choir.
It was Ken who organised the first 'sponsored' Christmas swim. He was a founder member of Hunstanton Bridge Club; played the drums in the Variety Club orchestra; was treasurer for the Hunstanton Players; produced the first 'Festival of Christmas' at the Princess Theatre; and also found time to be a poppy collector over many years.
After teaching in Hunstanton for nearly three decades, Ken retired from his post as Deputy Head of Redgate Middle School in 1982. The following year he published a short history of Hunstanton. When the Civic Society was formed in 2002, Ken donated many books to its archives. More books and artefacts followed with the opening of the Heritage Centre in 2013.
He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Civic Society in recognition of his outstanding service to the town, and, in 2009, he received the Borough Mayor's Civic Award for voluntary service. He was an ideal role model for the many pupils who benefited from his teaching skills throughout a long and distinguished career.