Tributes paid to ‘Exmouth champion’ Ken

Ken Turner

Ken Turner - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to Ken Turner, a champion of Exmouth, who was ‘passionate’ about education and ‘committed’ to serving the community.

Ken died peacefully in hospital on Saturday, October 24. He leaves three children, Simon, Julie and Ruth, four grandchildren, Verity, Lauren, Jake and Charis, one great-granddaughter, Emily, two stepchildren, Benjamin and Jessica, and their children.

Ken was born in Manchester. His teaching career took him to Princes Risborough, Lingen in Hereford, Great Glen in Leicester, and Exeter.

He lived in Exmouth for more than 30 years with his wife, June.

Ken’s teaching career began in 1950 and ended in retirement in 1993 as headteacher of Exwick Middle School, Exeter. He held four headteacher posts throughout his teaching years.


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Early in his career, while working as a headteacher in Exeter between 1973 and 1975, Ken was a member of the then Government’s enquiry into the government and management of schools that published the Taylor Report.

The publication shaped the role of the school governor. The blueprint is still used today.

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Ken’s love of education continued throughout his life - in 1993 he became a Devon county councillor, working in the areas of policy, education and social services.

From 1991 until 2001, Ken represented Devon nationally as a member of the Association of County Councils and Local Government Association, serving on each organisation’s education committees.

During this time he was also president of the NUT’s Devon and South West Federation, representing the union’s regional members on a national level.

Throughout the same period, until 2002, Ken was a member of the University of Exeter Council, also serving on the organisation’s audit committee.

His love of Exmouth and East Devon prompted him to serve as a as a district councillor for the Withycombe Raleigh ward on Exmouth Town Council between 1991 and 1999.

Ken was chairman of Devon County Council between 1999 and 2000. He also served as vice-chairman and then chairman of the education, arts and libraries committee, and chair of direct services.

More recently, Ken chaired the consortium that looked into purchasing the Rolle College site for Exmouth.

Exmouth Community College’s teaching block – The Turner Building – was named after Ken for his dedication to local education.

Latterly, Ken served as a governor at Exmouth Community College. He also worked on the board of management at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, as a trustee and chairman of the executive committee. Ken had been a Devon County Council honorary alderman since 2001.

Ken’s funeral and thanksgiving service will be held at 2pm on Friday, November 13, at St John in the Wilderness Church, Exmouth.

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