Tribute to Ken Bradley

Tributes have been paid to a former Burton council leader and long-standing Rolleston resident after his death on 2nd September 2006 at the age of 77. Ken Bradley, who was leader of East Staffordshire District Council between 1979 and 1986, never retired from his last job at JCB and continued to travel the world as an agricultural consultant for the Rocester-based business. He also served as a member of Staffordshire County Council for the Needwood Division during the 1980s and fought unsuccessfully to save the former Forest of Needwood school, in Rolleston, from closure. His widow, Anne, today paid tribute to her late husband (and reported in the Burton Mail), who helped save the Jinnie Nature Trail, between Rolleston and Stretton, from being turned into a rubbish dump during the 1980s.

She said: "He thrived on JCB and he thrived on meetings. He also loved Rolleston."

Mr Bradley was born in Burton in 1928 and after his early years in Barton under Needwood married Anne. They lived in Anslow for four years before moving to Rolleston, where they spent the last 45 years. Before working at JCB, Mr Bradley, a father of one and a grandfather of two boys, had been a lecturer at Broomfield Agricultural College, in Morley, north of Derby. He also worked for Silsoe Agricultural and Unilever during a career dedicated to the rural areas he loved.

His son, Richard, said: "He thoroughly enjoyed what he did. He enjoyed life and being involved in things. He had a good sense of humour but didnít suffer fools gladly." Frank Bather, a friend of Mr Bradleyís, who is borough councillor for Stretton, said: "He was certainly a multi-talented councillor. He was honest and kind and was always approachable."

Ken Bradley, 1928 - 2006 (Rollestonian Article)

Ken Bradley was a local man, born in Burton and spending his early years in Barton under Needwood. On marrying his wife, Anne, they lived at first in Anslow and for the last 45 years on Church Road, Rolleston.

Ken was well known locally as a long serving member of East Staffordshire District Council and Leader from 1979 -1986, He also served on Staffordshire County Council as member for the Needwood Division in the 1980ís.

Kenís professional career was always associated with agriculture. After working at Silsoe Agricultural College and Unilever he became a lecturer at Broomfield Agricultural College near Derby. Feeling a little foot-loose he then wrote to JCB at the time that they were considering diversifying into heavy agricultural machinery and this lead to an association with the company that lasted until his death. With Kenís interest in people and self-confessed love of meetings he became a roving ambassador for the company with many international contacts and a special knowledge of the workings of the E U in Brussels.

Ken was also a true Rollestonian supporting many activities. He was a serving member of the Parish Council from 1991 and Chairman 1991 - 95. He was a member of a small group of volunteers that formed the Best Kept Village Committee in 1968. The work of this committee led to the formation of Rolleston Civic Trust in 1969 and Ken was founder Chairman for a number of years.

Through his Council work, Ken was instrumental in helping the village obtain the Croft, which was to become a lorry park, and also the Jinnie Trail which was scheduled to be filled in as a rubbish tip. When the old Tutbury R D C obtained Brookhollows it was Ken who persuaded JCB to dredge and recover the lake for free by using this to test experimental earth moving equipment (at an estimated cost of over £60,000 in 1972). He also fought hard for the retention of the Forest of Needwood High School.

Although he was always busy with his many interests Ken was always approachable, finding time for a chat and enquiring about any village matter that he might have missed. A call to Ken on any issue would get a straight answer and if he thought it valid, would not be put aside but pursued with terrier tenacity. Both the village and its residents have lost a true friend with trenchant views on rural communities and their economy.

We would like to record our sympathy to Kenís wife, Anne, his son, Richard, and two grandchildren.

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Last updated: 9 December 2006