Tributes to Kenneth Johnson: Founder of Letchworth GC Society and Scout leader dies aged 87

PUBLISHED: 08:30 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 06 March 2018

Letchworth author, scout leader and group founder Kenneth Johnson has died aged 87. Picture: Barbara Heaton

Letchworth author, scout leader and group founder Kenneth Johnson has died aged 87. Picture: Barbara Heaton


A former Letchworth scout leader, avid volunteer and author will be 'missed greatly by many organisations' in the town.

Letchworth Garden City Society founder member Kenneth Johnson sadly died in January at the age of 87.

Kenneth was born in Wandsworth in 1930, and moved to Letchworth as a young boy. He attended St Christopher School and later worked as a library assistant at the town’s public library.

His time at the library sparked his interest in the local history – and from that, he went on to write The Book of Letchworth.

Lifelong friend and Letchworth Garden City Society chairman Allan Lupton said: “Our founder member, Kenneth Johnson, has died and I can say that many other organisations in Letchworth will miss him greatly, as we do.

“Somehow Ken took to writing a weekly column in The Citizen – Letchworth’s local newspaper at the time – in which he wrote about anything that interested him.

“When he was running low on ideas, he suggested that he would lead a walk from Letchworth to Ivinghoe Beacon. Sure enough some people joined him and he was able to write up the walk for the next week’s Citizen.

“The group of walking friends were referred to by Ken as the ‘Countryside Bashers’ and continued walking together long after The Citizen disappeared, Ken continuing to write the walks up, but for private circulation only.”

In addition to his work at the library, at the Letchworth society, and writing for the local paper, Kenneth also dedicated much of his time to the 5th Letchworth Scouts, who paid tribute to him on their website.

Jeff Robson wrote on behalf of the scouts: “To his later regret, KJ was never a Cub or a Scout as a boy. He retold the story, in a note penned in November just shortly before he was finally admitted to Lister Hospital, of how he became involved as an adult when working as an assistant at Letchworth Public Library. He finished this note by saying ‘That is how my education began’.

“KJ threw himself with great enthusiasm into Scouting and was soon helping out with various Cub packs and Scout troops including the newly formed 5th Letchworth Westbury Cub Pack.”

Kenneth’s active role in the community will be remembered by many. As well as writing his weekly column for the Citizen, Kenneth had contributed a monthly column called Scout Notes, researched routes and prepared maps for Scout cycling route ‘The Tour of Hertfordshire’, and organised trips to France for senior Scouts, to name a few.

Jeff concludes in the tribute: “In 2000 he was awarded the Silver Wolf but typically he did not accept that he deserved such an honour and would not wear it.

“KJ had a number of hang-up,s one being his dislike of being photographed – and any pictures of him are few, and probably taken without him knowing.”

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