Obituary: Kenneth Beaton

KENNETH Beaton, a former chairman of the company Silent Channel, High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Mayor of Huntingdon, died on Saturday, aged 93. Mr Beaton was the son of George Beaton, the founder of Silent Channel, which evolved into what is now the w

KENNETH Beaton, a former chairman of the company Silent Channel, High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Mayor of Huntingdon, died on Saturday, aged 93.

Mr Beaton was the son of George Beaton, the founder of Silent Channel, which evolved into what is now the world's largest supplier of seals for the automotive industry. The company was based in Huntingdon for 67 years.

A father of three, Mr Beaton's extraordinary life encompassed serving as a major in the army during the Second World War in the India campaign.

He returned home to become a company director, a founding Rotarian, a councillor, magistrate, charity worker and president of Huntingdon Drama Club.


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Mr Beaton was born in Putney, London, on July 3, 1914, the son of George and Kathleen (née Gold) and one of five brothers and two sisters. He was educated at Bishop's Stortford College and then qualified as an accountant.

In 1938, he joined the Army, enlisting in the 5th Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. During the war, Mr Beaton served with the 6th Rajputana Rifles and was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1942.

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He saw service in Delhi, Dacca, Fyabad, Asansol and Simla. He was seconded to the military police in India and appointed officer commanding in charge at Fayabad and in Burma.

After he was demobilised in 1945, Mr Beaton became director and company secretary at Silent Channel. He progressed to managing director and retired as chairman of the company in 1979.

In his civilian life, Mr Beaton worked tirelessly for the community. He was elected to Huntingdon Borough Council in 1949 and became mayor of the town in 1955.

He was a former chairman of the managers at Huntingdon Junior and Infant School and governor of Huntingdon Technical College. He was also appointed church warden at All Saints' Church, in Hartford, in 1954, chairman of Hartford Village Hall management committee and High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire from 1975 to 1976.

He was a founder-member of Huntingdon Rotary Club and club president in 1956.

Mr Beaton was a magistrate from 1956 to 1984 and president of Huntingdon Drama Club in 1979.

He began work for Huntingdon Talking Newspapers the year that he was president of Huntingdon and Peterborough Blind Society. He seemed to have energy for any good cause.

Mr Beaton married Kyne Johnstone on November 28, 1945, when his family was living at Brampton Manor, now the Leonard Cheshire Home.

He is survived by his widow and their three children, Susan, Frances and John, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mr Beaton's funeral service will be held at All Saints' Church, Hartford, on Tuesday, at 3pm. The family has asked for family flowers only with any donations to the building fund at All Saints' Church.

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