Tributes to Sidmouth theatre's former caretaker

THEATRE lovers from Sidmouth will be sad to hear of the death of Manor Pavilion s former caretaker Ken Morton.

THEATRE lovers from Sidmouth will be sad to hear of the death of Manor Pavilion's former caretaker Ken Morton.

Brummie Ken, 77, who retired from the theatre in 1996 after almost a decade, died in hospital in Exeter on Thursday, February 19, after a short illness.

A former electronic engineer, Ken was more than qualified for the caretaker's job which he took after moving to Aylesbeare with second wife Sheila in 1987.

"He had a very successful career," she said. "He worked on corporate projects such as the Thames Barrier."

Ken was going to start an electrical engineering company after moving to East Devon from Bideford where he met Sheila, but decided there were not enough commercial undertakings in the area.

So he took the caretaking job and became friends with many members of various drama groups and other companies that used the theatre.

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Among his friends from the theatrical fraternity were Ken Davis and Ray Pickworth from Lark Rise, Newton Poppleford.

The two Ken's lives have many similarities, including both belonging to the Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in 1950 within two weeks of each other.

Mr Morton stayed on, finishing as a technical staff sergeant. He supported the work of the Royal British Legion although was not a member.

The two men met at the Manor Pavilion, when Ken and Ray ran the Open Hand Theatre Company.

Ken said: "He did a tremendous amount of work, not just caretaking. He managed the place and used to help with lighting, and his dogs Ben and later Buster, used to come into the theatre.

"He was known as the chummy Brummie. When he retired we organised a party and raised �500 for him.

"Ken was a great guy and so helpful. We miss him like mad."

Ken leaves a sister Joyce, brother Brian, children Judi, Derek and Roger, step-children Carol and Richard, four grandchildren Lee, Paul, Amy and Luke and two step-grandchildren Bethan and Jonathan.

Friends and family will celebrate his life at Aylesbeare Village Hall after a funeral service and cremation at St Peter's Chapel, Exeter Crematorium, at 2.45pm on Monday, March 2.