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Ken Ellis

2nd of November 2006

11 August 1936 – 18 September 2006
Ken was born in Hackney and the family moved to Stanmore in the early 1940’s. At secondary school he became Head Boy and Captain of cricket and football. He played  for Middlesex County Boys Football Team and was offered a place in Spurs Junior Squad. He was also an exceptional athlete and ran with success with the Shaftesbury Harriers.
Ken pursued a career in art. He moved from studio work and advertising to employment with the Reader’s Digest where he became Art Director and remained with the Company for 34 years until his retirement. It was a job he loved!
In his late teens he launched into sailing. He and his father built his first boat, a Cadet, and Ken enjoyed outstanding success both as a helm and crew. He sailed with Tony Soanes, of  Chipperfield, a life-long friend and two other great sailors Brian Ellis (no relation) and Keith Musto (Olympic Silver Medallist). Ken’s most memorable wins with the above were in Fireflies and Merlin-Rockets, being twice National Champions and winners of the prestigious Endeavour Trophy (Champion of Champions). Ken was a lifetime member of Aldenham Sailing Club where he made a huge contribution over the years and was appointed Commodore in 1982. Here, both he and his sons, Richard and Peter, won everything in their class. Returning to Cowes in later life to compete, the trio sailed their Etchells to a Cowes week win.
Ken’s prowess in sport was matched by his administrative skills. In 1976 he was introduced to the Royal Yachting Association and from that time served on many committees. This contribution to the sport led to his becoming Chairman of the R.Y.A .from 1996-2001. In 2002 he was given the I.S.A.F. Silver Medal Award for services to yachting. Latterly, Ken was involved with R.Y.A. ‘Sailability’, a charity providing sailing for the disabled.
Ken, family and friends, were delighted that he reached his 70th birthday which was celebrated in sunshine at a most memorable garden party at the home of Tony and Ann Soanes. It was also a day which marked the great marriage between Ken and Sue which began in 1958. Despite his own battle with illness in the last two years of his life, he continued with his work as fundraiser and trustee for Sailability. He was actually on his way to a fundraising event at The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes when he died. It was a mark of his typical determination and courage in life. How wonderful to be instrumental in raising �20.000 as a final gesture and at the very place where his vision for sailing began.                  Barry Steel

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