Wherever there was a good local cause to be pursued, Ken Deller was in the forefront of the charge. He was the ideal person to be involved; caring, thoughtful and practical. These included a myriad of successful campaigns, invariably involving the welfare of people, ranging from the establishment of the Deanery Lodge homeless women’s project, to helping spearhead the London Ecumenical Aids Trust. Ken was involved in the Church Urban Fund’s campaign to save Christ Church, Kennington (the parish on which David Hare’s play ‘Racing Demons’ was based)., His particular individual cause was the building of the Goose Green Centre for church and community use at St. John’s East Dulwich. Once built, it was opened by Dulwich MP Tessa Jowell in 1996, Ken, assisted by his family, started a lunch club for elderly people which continues to flourish. More recently Ken (and his wife Barbara) became trustees in the Elms Care Home in Barry Road.
Ken Deller was born in Walworth but as a youngster moved to Worlingham Road, Goose Green where an association lasting 75 years with St John’s Church was established. He was very much a local boy, attending St John’s Primary School and Strand School. After National Service in the RAF Ken began his career in local government, first at Southwark and later at Tower Hamlets where he was Deputy Chief Executive. He studied for an Open University degree and specialised in Fine Art, a subject which he would continue to enjoy for the rest of his life. His son, Jeremy is the Turner prizewinner conceptual artist.
Early retirement in 1987 allowed him to pursue his second career of community service and he was also president of the Dulwich & Peckham Rotary Club as well as an active worker for many years in the Dulwich Festival. He was made a Freeman of the City of London and was honoured with the Southwark Civic Award.
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