In Memory of Ken Crawford
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Kenneth Crawford was born on the 21st February 1949 to Elizabeth and Andrew Crawford. Kenneth would grow up as one of five children, brother to Andrew, Alistair, David and Sheila. The family initially lived in Edentown and then Ladybank in Fife, before, in 1953, Kenneth’s father was promoted in his job as Automobile Association Sergeant to Inspector requiring the family to relocate to Maybole.

It was in Maybole that Kenneth’s happiest childhood memories were to be had. He loved the town and spoke fondly of playing for hours with brothers, sister and friends.  Kenneth would regularly recount to his children in later years stories from this time in his life and the adventures he shared with his brothers and sister and particularly the marvellous Christmas’ the family shared.  In later life Kenneth took inspiration from those early Christmas’ and made sure that his own children experienced festive celebrations in the same manner he enjoyed as a child.   

Even at a young age Kenneth demonstrated generosity that would become a feature of his life.  On one occasion Kenneth’s Uncle John and Auntie Lizzie visited them.  Kenneth, knowing that his Uncle and Auntie sent them money at Christmas time realised the potential for a financial windfall during their visit and he and his younger brother David conspired to be on their best behaviour during their stay.  Their plan was successful and at the end of their visit they paid up, 2 shillings and sixpence each, 5 shillings between them.

As soon as they had left Kenneth and David were off up to the sweet shop on the green in Maybole. If you had a few pennies in Maybole you went down the high street, but if you were flush you went to the sweet shop on the green. On arrival they did what children do when they’ve got a few pennies in their pocket, they didn’t go straight in, but looked in the window first. They could afford everything.  After a minute or two Kenneth said ‘we’ll buy Mum a present’. David said ‘ok’, then Kenneth said ‘We’ll buy her that box of clarinco mint creams’.   David said, WHAT! WHOA! ‘do you mean that big box, the centrepiece of their well constructed display?’, ‘Aye’, replied Kenneth ‘give me your money’. They went in and Kenneth asked the shopkeeper ‘How much is that box of clarinco mint creams?’ The shopkeeper replied ‘5 shillings’. David said ‘aw no’ and Kenneth said ‘great, we’ll have it’. Then the pair marched home and Kenneth presented his Mum with her present. She was delighted and it was hard to tell which of the two was happier or more proud. That was typical of Kenneth.

Kenneth attended Carrick Academy in Maybole but if truth were told school held little interest for him and served as a distraction from his main interest, which was playing football. He left school in 1964 aged 15.  However, years later he would return.

His first job was at Norman Ranson’s, an auto electrician’s garage in Prestwick, where he worked as a trainee electrician.  On his first day he suffered the same fate as many apprentices and was sent to nearby garages on fools errands for items such as, a reversible horn, a left-handed wrench and tubes of green compulsion. Time and time again he returned empty handed, fearing the sack he discussed his inability to source these items with his father. Who explained that he had been the victim of a prank.  Kenneth however continued to gladly accept his “assignments” in the following days, taking the time to wander around Prestwick rather than spend time in the garage storeroom where the majority of his work kept him.

Kenneth enjoyed this job immensely and would regularly entertain his family, particularly his mother, with his stories of the goings on at the garage.  One such story that his mother would ask him to recount again and again was the time when the manager of the garage asked the mechanics to decorate the garage themselves to save money. One of the mechanics (Davie) was painting the very high interior garage walls. He was working from the top of a tall extension ladder. Suddenly, Kenneth heard a crash and ran out of the storeroom to see what had happened. Davie was on the ground groaning but was uninjured.  Kenneth couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of Davie’s two handprints all down the wall from the top to the bottom. Davie having done his best to slow his fall by clinging on the wet paint.

In 1967, a further promotion for Kenneth’s father saw the family relocate to Birmingham.  It was during his time in Birmingham that Kenneth began to put his intelligence to work.  From 1971 to 1990 Kenneth was employed as Electrical Engineer at Lloyds Bank and attended night school undertaking several courses and eventually qualifying as an electrician. 

They say, as you grow older you grow wiser. Kenneth became wise. Very wise.  He took that to extremes. He’d say something and people would think how does he know that? He started to dispense advice. And it would be good advice.

He became well informed and started writing really well and would write stories. He was eloquent and witty. And he could write poetry. There’s probably a few school pals saying ‘poetry? Kenny Crawford? Oh yes, and it was good stuff. He became a guru! He changed.

In 1972 and 1974, Kenneth had two children Kenneth and Alan.  In 1981, Kenneth met Vivien and so began a romance that was to last 32 years. They were devoted to each other and married later that year.  Kenneth and Vivien complimented each other perfectly. When Vivien first met Kenneth she thought he needed to be looked after and this is what she did for the rest of his life. It might seem hard to believe but despite all of Kenneth’s talents he did need looking after.  Vivien took care of Kenneth and kept him focused on what was important in life. In fact they took care of each other.  They had three children, James, Caroline and Laura. 

By his own example Kenneth instilled in all his children values that they have gone on to live their own lives by; honesty, integrity, to always work hard and to look after your family.

In 1990, Kenneth, Vivien, James, Caroline and Laura moved to Scotland eventually settling in Tarbolton where Kenneth (jnr) and Alan visited often. The family are extremely close and enjoyed regular holidays touring the North of Scotland.  It was during these holidays that Kenneth’s children hold the fondest and funniest memories of their Dad.

The family home was a happy place, full of laughter and joy. Kenneth often poked fun at his family. When Vivien announced to him that she had seen a deer in the garden, Kenneth was sceptical to say the least and days of ridicule followed.  “Vivien come quick there’s a Gorilla in the garden”. That was Kenneth and his family loved him for it.

Kenneth was a ferocious protector of his children and as they grew older was a constant source of strength and advice on all manner of life’s challenges.  They had only to give the slightest hint of a problem regardless or how big or small he was always on hand to help.

Throughout the 1990s, Kenneth pursued a successful career in Buildings Management. As a child if Kenneth had been asked what his dream job would be as an adult he would have replied 'playing for Rangers'. He didn't manage this, though he was a talented footballer, but in 1998 was appointed as Stadium Manager at Ibrox, a position he filled with tremendous pride and passion. He poured his heart and sole into the job.  The fact that he accomplished this against a background of no formal qualifications in his school years is a testament to the hard work and dedication he put in to gain the professional qualifications that allowed him to 'live the dream' in working for Rangers. It was while working at Rangers that Kenneth was asked to return to Carrick Academy to speak to the pupils there about his achievements and the importance of studying hard.  Kenneth was immensely proud to be asked to do this.

After leaving Rangers in 2003 he moved into semi-retirement, though he continued to work periodically in building management, before beginning his full retirement in 2008.  Kenneth spent his retirement years enjoying the company of his grandchildren (Rebecca and John), painting, walking and complaining to the BBC weather service about their inaccurate Scottish weather forecasts. 

In his last days when speaking of his life he said that “with great effort you can overcome ignorance”.  Kenneth’s professional career is testament to that sentiment.  He set a wonderful example to his children and grandchildren that they all endeavour to follow.

Kenneth had a sharp sense of humour he also had the rarer gift of being able to laugh at himself and the mistakes he made. One of his children’s favourite examples of this was when his son Kenneth (Jnr) was studying in Strasbourg.  Contacting Kenneth (Jnr) involved first speaking to a French operator at the accommodation where he was staying and asking for Kenneth (Jnr) to come to the phone. Not being a fluent French speaker Kenneth (Snr) realised that there was likely to be a language barrier. 

Kenneth (Snr) was a supremely confident person and was unfazed by this. His solution was to write out in English what he wanted to say in order to speak with Kenneth (Jnr). He then bought an English/French dictionary and swapped all of the English words for the French equivalent. Thus providing what he thought was a perfect translation. 


After weeks of rehearsing he made the call but was dismayed when the operator revealed that he spoke English. Kenneth (Snr) replied “no, no, no, I don’t think so, I’ve been rehearsing this for weeks, you just listen to this”.  The butchering of the French language that followed left both the operator and Kenneth (Snr) in fits of laughter, both were unable to speak for several minutes.  It would be one of many such stories that would cause his children to howl with laughter when he recounted it.

This sense of humour never left him, even when he was diagnosed with lung cancer just a few weeks ago. When in Hospital he continued to shield his family from his pain by making jokes and responding inappropriately to the questions of Hospital staff.  This alone was a remarkable feat of courage and typical of Kenneth. 

Vivien nursed Kenneth through his illness remaining by his side until the very last moment of his life. In his final two weeks Vivien refused to leave his bedside and slept on a mattress on the floor of his hospital room.  Her strength of character these past weeks and the extent of her undying devotion to Kenneth have astounded the family. The bond they share is of such strength that it will never be broken, even by death.     

Shortly before he died Kenneth passed a message to his brother David that he wanted everyone here to know today. This message was that he loved and was proud of Vivien, Kenneth, Alan, James, Caroline and Laura. But I suspect you already knew that. Who wouldn’t be proud of these children? Tall, good-looking, well-mannered, well spoken, strong backbone, making their own way in life.  Kenneth wanted you all to know, that if that was to be his legacy, he died a proud and happy man.

So, which Kenneth Crawford are you thinking about?

The young footballer, fit and eager, who could run circles round us all?

The pal you used to sit and laughing and joking with till your sides were sore?

The hard working colleague you could trust and rely on?

The storyteller, who remembered more about your childhood that you could? 

Or are you thinking a hundred and one different things about the man who was such a big part of your life?

You might be sitting there, a bit angry. Well, don’t be, he doesn’t want that. You might be sitting there with a tinge of regret, wishing you had said or not said something, or something you could have done or not done.

Well don’t worry. If Kenneth knew you, he loved you! He wanted the best for everyone here. He wanted the best for everyone. Well, with the exception of the BBC weather service. But, apart from them, he wanted the best for everybody.

Kenneth’s life was happy one and his happiest moments were those he spent with his family. Perhaps the most poignant example of this was during his final days in Ayr Hospital. When lying in his hospital bed Vivien, sons Kenneth, Alan, James and daughters, Caroline and Laura sat around him reminiscing of the family holidays, Christmas’ and many other happy times they had shared together.  Although very ill, as he was listening to these stories, he lay with a smile on his face and whispered the words “I’m drowning in happiness”.  In the days, months and years ahead we should remember that this was how Kenneth left this world, not in sadness, nor pain or anger but with his loving family around him and thinking of a lifetime of happy memories. So, if you’re struggling with your thoughts today, there’s something for you to think about and we’ll use that to help us go on. Because, go on we must, we owe that to Kenneth.

These are the loving and proud memories of his wife Vivien, sons, Kenneth, Alan, James, daughters Caroline and Laura, his beloved grandchildren John and Rebecca, and his brothers and sister; Andrew, Alistair, David and Sheila.  They all will ensure that Kenneth will be remembered for what he was; a devoted and loving husband, the best of father’s, a great brother and a doting grandfather.

He will never be forgotten.

Webmaster's Note: Ken was a frequent contributor to the Maybole website, a loyal supporter and friend. His wit and wisdom were unmatched and always appreciated. Some of his contributions to the site include - A Christmas Story , Andy Crawford The AA ManAlison Crawford in ITV Grease is the Word,   Guy Fawkes Night   Tribute to Robert Meiklejohn   Tribute to David Kiltie