Tributes for council leader

Tributes have been paid to a community stalwart, who served the people of South Ribble for 47 years.

Sunday, 13th November 2016, 2:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:13 pm
Ken Palmer

Ken Palmer, who was the first leader of South Ribble Council the authority when it was founded and spent 21 years in the role, died on Friday aged 92.

He has been remembered by his family and former colleagues as “dedicated and devoted to helping sort out any problem for local residents.”

His daughter Angela Buck, 68, said: “He was very hardworking. My mum used to joke that they could never go on holiday because there was always a council meeting on.”

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Coun Ken Palmer receives his OBE with wife Cecilia and daughters Angela (far left) and Helen.

Originally from Cambridgeshire, Mr Palmer enrolled in the RAF during the Second World War. He served as a navigator and was later sent to Bamber Bridge to disband the American Army camp in the town. It was while dancing at the Catholic Club in Brownedge Lane that he met his wife Cecilia. They married in 1947, after which Mr Palmer took a year’s training course to become a teacher.

While working at New Springs High School in Wigan, he became the youngest headteacher in the old Lancashire palatine. He also spent many years at St Bede’s in Clayton-le-Woods.

It was in 1964 he first became a Conservative Councillor for the former Walton-le-Dale Urban District Council, then for South Ribble, finally standing down in 2011.

He also served as chairman of Central Lancashire New Towns, and was awarded an OBE for his services to the public in 1995. This came a year after he was awarded the Freedom of the Borough. At the time he joked he had finally been accepted as a Lancastrian.

Coun Ken Palmer receives his OBE with wife Cecilia and daughters Angela (far left) and Helen.

He also received a letter of thanks from the Pope for his work as chair of Governors at St Gerard’s Primary School.

Mrs Buck said: “He never bragged about any of that, he just quietly got on and did the best he could.”

He leaves wife Cecilia, daughters Angela and Helen Rhodes, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Mrs Buck added: “He was so caring and very, very patient with mum, who he looked after until August when they both went into a home. They worked so well together as a couple. As a dad, he was loyal and loving.”

Mrs Rhodes said: “He was always known as a real gentleman. He was a loving father, calm and non-judgemental.”

His funeral will be held on Thursday at 10.30am at St Gerard’s Church, Lostock Hall.