Tributes paid after former rector dies

Rev Ward
Rev Ward

A former rector of Daventry, the Rev Kenneth Ward died last Friday aged 90 after suffering from a short illness.

Rev Ward was rector of Daventry between 1958 and 1982, but he also had many other roles including national chaplain for Normandy veterans – for which he received the French Legion of Honour medal – and chaplain to Danetre hospital.

Rev Ward, who served in the Royal Navy’s minesweepers during the war, continued to lead Daventry’s memorial parade until the early 2000s having also been chaplain to Daventry’s British Legion. He leaves behind his son Andrew and daughter Katherine. His wife, Peggy, died in 2009 and son, Stephen, died in 2006.

Andrew, headmaster of Byfield School, said: “Those who knew my father will remember him for his kindness and generosity – he was truly a man of the people and was always willing to give up his time to help anyone.

“He’s known to so many people because he contributed to so many community groups and activities. Many will be saddened to hear he’s no longer with us.

“He always looked out for the individual and nobody was invisible to him. He was a priest in the best sense of the word, and away from his work he was a great family man too. He and my mother, Peggy, were a great team together and stood by their 
children through thick and thin – their’s is a true love story.”

Canon Michael Webber, current rector of Daventry’s Holy Cross Church, said Rev Ward played a fundamental role for soldiers after the Second World War.

“His leadership and care was vital for soldiers recovering from the Normandy campaign and, in his role as chaplain, he would lead important memorial services in Westminster Abbey and other famous centres of worship in the country,” he said.

“What marked him out was his kindness and regard for others. During the decades he served Daventry, he helped outsiders settle here as the town grew during the decades after the war.”

Canon Webber added: “He will be sorely missed and I’m sure his popularity will be evident at his funeral on Monday.”

Lifelong friend, the Rev Dr Guy Sumpter of St Thomas of Canterbury church in Brentwood, Essex, added: “He’s irreplaceable – he was a traditionalist and a perfectionist, but tempered those traits with his sense of humour.”

A requiem for Rev Ward takes place on Sunday December 1 at 8.30pm and his funeral will take place on Monday December 2 at 11am, both services will be at Holy Cross church.