Sir George pays tribute to Ken Whitehouse
2 Aug 2006
Ken Whitehouse campaigning at Finkley Farm in 2005
Ken Whitehouse campaigning at Finkley Farm in 2005
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"Aurelia and I were very sad to hear of Ken's death and our thoughts are with Pam and the Whitehouse family"
"As owner of Solitaire, Ken was one of Andover's favourite retailers, and many an engagement and wedding has been sealed with a ring bought from Ken. He also put a lot back into the community through his voluntary work, and was hoping to start a career in local government after selling his business."
"After two narrow misses, I am sure he would have been elected, had his health not failed."
"He leaves behind many friends and admirers, and Andover is the poorer without him."

This is the text of Sir George's tribute to Ken Whitehouse delivered at his Memorial Service in St Mary's Church

"Pam has asked me to say a few words about Ken this afternoon, and it is an honour to do so. Pam and her family are very much in our thoughts and prayers as we remember Ken’s life. I know the family will draw consolation and strength from the numbers here this afternoon as Andover salutes one of its most prominent citizens.
Ken was like one of the stones in the window of Solitaire. There were many surfaces and the light would catch on some as one walked past. So different people will have seen different surfaces of Ken, reflected in the tributes this afternoon.
I saw him through the prism of the local MP. At a time when the multiple retailers impose their benign uniformity on the High Streets of Hampshire towns, Ken represented the sole trader. He helped to make Andover different and better. He had deep roots in the community he served, keen antennae for what local people wanted, a clear vision of how the High Street should develop and, as someone who cared passionately about Andover as a retailing centre, he was an articulate advocate in the columns of the Andover Advertiser.
At a time when many would have thought about retiring, Ken decided to embark on a new career in municipal politics, which is when I got to know him a lot better.
He lost two nail-biting recounts in the Leisure Centre a few yards from here and took defeat with dignity.
I spent many an hour with Ken on the doorsteps of Andover and remember canvassing with him in Roman Way. It seemed to me that every finger in Florence Court was encircled by a purchase from Solitaire, every cleavage in Claudius Court adorned with one of his pendants. This gave him the entrée that every politician needs on the doorstep to engage the attention of the voter and lure them into ones camp. Drawing on his experience in the High St, Ken was a fine salesman in a different environment–indeed, he has probably already sold St Peter some new pearls for the celestial gates.
He listened to and engaged the voter – no surprise that although his name began with a letter towards the end of the alphabet, a handicap many of us have to bear, he outperformed those running under the same Party label.
He would have been a tremendous asset on the county or district council. He was respected by all parties; he was a man of integrity; and his proven business experience would have been harnessed to protect the interest of the council taxpayer. It was a tragedy that his failing health cut short that career.
Ken was a kind generous and thoughtful man.
This afternoon we mourn his loss; we comfort his family; we treasure our memories; we show gratitude for his contribution to our town and we wish Ken eternal peace."
 
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