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                              KENNETH HENLEY (Ken)

Married to Blanche Bilcliff and Nora Joan Downward.

 

         Ken was born 15 April 1923 at Crag End Cottages, Mixenden which was part of a farm. his happy childhood was spent in Mixenden which was then a rural village with one woollen mill an a dyeworks, It was set on the edge of moorland, a beautiful spot. He attended Mixenden Village School from the age of 5 helping on the farm where along with the son looked after two show ponies competing at several shows annually. Not having transport he trecked over the moors up to ten miles to attend some shows.

        Ken left school at 14 and worked at the local woollen mill. He was accepted as a Machine Tool Apprentice at 16, attending part time studies at Halifax Technical Collage until 1940 when he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve as part of the PNB (Pilot Navigator Bomb Aimer training scheme). He was later selected a trainee Pilot when he travelled to Canada to complete his training up to wings standard and after returning England with an above average ability was sent to the Empire Fling Training School Upavon to learn to be a Pilot Flying Instructor. He was assigned to the advanced flying school at Wheaton Aston in 1944 and he was demobilised in 1946. From 1948 to 1953 he flew part time with the RAFVR to assist in the Berlin air lift.          

          Whilst in the service Ken met a WAAF named Blanche Bilcliff and got married September 1946. They set uo home in Newcastle upon Tyne where their two children were born Deryck 1948 and Lynne 1953. Ken worked got work at an engineering company who continued his apprenticeship finishing as a draughtsman with the qualification of National Diploma. In 1958 he moved his family to Harlow Essex and commenced work on the design of Spade-adam a test rocket site. 1960 saw him move to Atomic Power station design and construction followed by a move to Fluor an American company specialising in Design and Construction of Refineries an Chemical plants where he worked for 22 years, over this period the employee numbers increased from 30 to 2,500. With Ken working his way up the ranks to Chief Design Engineer. The company opened an office in Manchester in 1974 when he was promoted to Manager of Projects.          

He enjoyed his life in Harlow where his family grew up, he was very much involved in the town community. His friends included a nurse who had to was in the RVI hospital in Hamstead suffering from accute kidney failure,during the visits there he advised the specialist on improvements to the Dialyses equipment and he was asked if would help them develop a kidney machine to be used in a home. He agreed and the first home dialysis machine was built and installed by him. After his move to Manchester he set up his house located on a Golf course and took up golf. On his retirement in 1983 he immersed himself in the golf club, became project manager to building a clubhouse after which he was appointed Club President.

          His wife Blanche passed away 2008 marrying Joan in 2010 and after several moves they are settled in the small  village of Longton Lancashire where he is living out the few remaining years.

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