AN ASHBOURNE born former Navy officer who took the salute on behalf of the Royal Navy at Ashbourne’s VE Day parade has died at the age of 87.
Ken Burton, the son of an Ashbourne bus driver, was born in the town on April 4, 1925 to parents living in South Street.
An only child, the young Mr Burton was a bright lad and had ambitions to attend Ashbourne Grammar School - but his dreams were almost quoshed by the cost of the admission fee.
Ken studied hard and managed to gain a scholarship to the prestigious school and he later became its head boy.
On leaving the grammar school he joined the Royal Navy, and during service in boats in the North Sea he worked his way up the ranks to become an officer.
He was in India en route to the Japanese front, when the war ended with the US dropping the bomb on Japan.
Mr Burton was one of three officers, one from each service, chosen to receive a salute on VE day in the town.
After leaving the Navy he married Valerie Foster, at St Oswald’s Church in September 1950. Miss Foster was one of three daughters born into the historic Foster name in Ashbourne that had become synonymous over the centuries with a fishing tackle manufacturers and retailers.
The Foster Bros was known for its large shop in Church Street for around 100 years and her father, Wilfred Foster, was known and respected as an expert tackle manufacturer and fly maker.
Mr and Mrs Foster had two children, Kenneth and Diana, both of whom live outside the area.
Mrs Foster passed away 10 years ago.
Following his career in the Navy, Mr Burton, who died on Sunday, February 17, worked for Derbyshire County Council as a trainee chartered surveyor and, after qualifying moved to the civil service where he worked for the Department of the Environment, surveying Government buildings at various locations, including British bases in Germany.
His last posting before retirement was in Nottingham, where he set up home and lived for around 40 years until his death.
His family’s connection with the town extends back through several generations and his grand father was employed as a chauffer in Ashbourne and was the first person to ever drive a car - a Rolls Royce owned by one of the town’s textile tycoons - in to Ashbourne.
His funeral is on Friday 1 March at Bramcote Crematorium, Nottingham.