Kenneth Blackburn

Kenneth Blackburn
Kenneth Blackburn
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AFTER a career at sea, Kenneth Blackburn, who has died aged 90, was the Conservative councillor for the Central, North, and Stanley and Wrenthorpe wards at Wakefield.

With a lifelong interest in politics, service rather than personal advancement was his motivation. It was typical of this modest man that when he attended the annual Armistice Day celebrations he would be at the end of the line, the many medals he had received left at home.

A lifelong seafaring friend said he was so understated that he could almost pass without notice, and yet his contribution was enormous.

Sensitive to the needs of others, and supportive, he would continue to provide whatever help he could for as long as it was needed.

Mr Blackburn was brought up by his parents in the Belle Vue area of Wakefield and went to the city’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.

He wanted to go to sea from a young age, following a family tradition on his mother’s side going back at least as far as 1863.

He joined his first ship at West Hartlepool in 1940 and was on the last ship out of Singapore following the attack on Pearl Harbour.

He spent the entire war in the Pacific theatre and, following the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, he served a further 17 years on naval tankers.

Following the death of his father in 1962, Mr Blackburn resigned and returned to Belle Vue to look after his mother. Soon afterwards they moved to the St Johns area of Wakefield where he spent the rest of his life, becoming involved in local politics and very much enjoying the part he played in the Herne (Germany) Twining Group.

The United Reformed Church was an important element in the family’s life, and he was an Elder at two of its churches in the city. He was deeply affected when the first, on George Street, closed down.

For 40 years he had been responsible for marriage registration, never taking a fee because he thought the young couples had enough financial pressures without him adding to them.

No one who knew him well would have been surprised.