Last mayor of Spenborough dies aged 94

Ken Sowden.

Ken Sowden.

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Ken Sowden the last mayor and a former leader of Spenborough council has died aged 94.

As leader of the council Ken helped to set up Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre, Red House Museum and housing schemes for elderly people.

Mr Sowden was born in Cleckheaton in 1922.

Mr Sowden was born in Cleckheaton in 1922.

His son Peter Sowden paid tribute to him, describing him as an active community member who served to address local concerns.

Peter said: “He was known for always doing a good job and working hard.

“It often meant he ended up in charge.

“He got involved in local politics, and other community activities, through a concern for local issues and not as an ambitious career politician.

“He lived a good, full, long, happy life that was well lived.”

Entering politics in 1961 Mr Sowden was elected to Spenborough Council, becoming leader between 1968 and 1973.

Soon after he served as mayor from 1973 until 1974.

He was also a magistrate and a long standing member of Cleckheaton and District Rotary Club.

He was born in Cleckheaton on January 30, 1922, remaining in the area throughout his life.

Soon after marrying his late wife Mary and they settled in Hunsworth in 1952.

The pair raised three children, Peter, Helen, David and later became grandparents to six grandchildren.

Mrs Sowden passed away in 2012.

In 1940 Mr Sowden earned a scholarship to St John’s College in York to train as a teacher.

During World War Two he served in the army in North Africa, Italy and Palestine.

Following the war in 1946 he began his career in teaching, working in several schools in the area, until retiring as headteacher of Birkenshaw Middle School in 1984.

His funeral will take place on Monday, October 10 at St John’s in Cleckheaton at 12.15 pm.

For details of the funeral contact Michael Wright and Son, Cleckheaton, on 01274871092.