Len Keeble (28 Sep 1926 - 27 Mar 2015)
Dad was a true hero to us all, he lived a life of activity and always had time for everybody, he was never happier than when helping people.
Dad was born in 1926, the youngest of 8 children, and spent his formative years in Stratford, East London. These times were financially hard, but he was imbued with a sense of community and family, and that never left him. He cared deeply for people and for the world. He had an enquiring mind, that revelled in science and the universe, and often bamboozled us with facts and figures.
Dad lived through the war in both London and for a time as an evacuee in Dedham, and the sights he saw inspired him to join the Royal Navy before the cessation of hostilities. The scenes of destruction and fire that rained down upon the docks during the blitz were to lead Dad to his true vocation, that of London fire fighter, where he served with distinction and reached the rank of Station Officer. He was awarded for bravery by the Royal Humane Society, after a courageous rescue in a lift shaft of Spillers Millennium Mill in the Royal Victoria Dock, where he placed his ladder in a deep shaft, beneath an untethered lift, in order to secure the rescue of a fatally injured man. This was just one of many selfless rescues Dad was involved with, but to him it was all in a days work. He made life-long friendships in the Brigade and earned the respect of a great many more.
Following his decades with the LFB, Dad worked with Newham Council as their fire safety and prevention officer, and alongside pursued for many years his abiding passion of marathon running. He completed 33 marathons, including 9 London marathons, raising money for many good causes, but especially for Motor Neurone Disease, as a good friend was in the grip of this awful condition. Dad also completed an 80 mile ultra-marathon, and not many people can add that to their CV!
Dad was married for over 62 years to his darling Rose, whom he met one sunny afternoon at the Lido. They were married in 1953, and soon after relocated from London to leafier Hutton, and eventually settled in the home that was to see them through 5 decades in Writtle. In 1960 I (Chris) came along and in 1963 the family was completed with the arrival of a daughter Sally. Sally and I lived an idyllic childhood in the country, with Dad popping off to London on his motorbike, and dashing back to regale us with stories of blazes and rescues, plus the general high jinx and banter that was part and parcel of the Brigade. Family holidays were plentiful and always sunny, but then the sun always seemed to shine on Dad, he worshipped and luxuriated in it's rays.
In retirement Dad never really slowed down, even when his knees and ultimately his hips were replaced, he was our bionic hero and after running was curtailed he was swimming as frequently as possible. He wrote passionate letters to parliament on a wide range of social issues that concerned him, he never stopped caring. He became an inspirational Granddad to first Tasha and then to Gabby and Lauren. No three grandchildren could hold a man in higher regard, they each knew his worth and it was considerable.
Dad will be missed by us all very deeply, but we are all proud to have been a part of his life story, we all love him completely and his memory will truly live on within each of us.
Dad passed peacefully on 27th March at Farleigh Hospice after a short and brave battle.
Dad's funeral Service will take place on Friday 1st May at Chelmsford Crematorium at 10.30 am and afterwards at The Secret Garden adjacent.
We request family flowers only, and any kind donations in Len's memory be made to Farleigh Hospice, these may be made online or else sent to:
Paul J King Funeral Directors
6 Corporation Road
With thanks and love.
Chris & Sally