|7 Jan 2021|
Kenneth lived all his life in Summerfield House, on the outskirts of Exmouth. His father Arthur was a career soldier and was stationed all over the world so was often away. His mother Aileen was devoted to Kenneth and taught him how to ride. Kenneth was a very good rider, and his bedroom was littered with rosettes that he won over the years.
He found learning quite difficult and this was thought to be due to lack of ability. However, at the age of 14 when he was at Millfield School he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an hereditary condition which leads to blindness and it was realised that his ability was not lacking but that he had diminished vision. He then moved to West Buckland School in 1968 and joined the Grenville. He stayed for two years and then, according to his father’s letter to the Headmaster, he left to start to work for his qualifications as an Animal Technician. His father thanked the school and the staff for the help and kindness they showed Kenneth during his time at West Buckland. His school report from his final year, Mr Riding wrote that “ Kenneth is coming along well and deserves credit for such efforts as running the Exmoor and attending Keep Fit Club regularly.” Mr Avens (62-95S), who taught him Science, remembers Ken as “bright, pleasant, helpful and well-respected” and his contemporaries remember him being a great supporter of WBS Rugby matches from the touchline.
In his working life, Kenneth enjoyed presented hospital radio at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and for many years Kenneth ran a haberdashery shop in Exeter. As his sight deteriorated, he had to discontinue this. He was very keen on IT and completed many courses on his computer at a time when he could only see a single letter in the middle of the screen when the magnification was on maximum.
Kenneth cared for his mother in her later years as she only died in 2009 having celebrated her 90th birthday. Following her death Kenneth, fiercely independent and denying his visual problems, insisted that he could do almost everything for himself. He refused to have a cleaner or any other help.
His health problems became worse when he developed a peripheral neuropathy meaning that sensation in his legs and arms was diminished. This, together with his blindness, significantly affected his balance and meant that he was unaware of any injuries to his legs. However, Ken continued to deny that he had any disability adamantly refusing to have a disability badge and insisting that he could manage at Summerfield House. He did in fact manage amazingly well.
In his later years one might have thought that Ken would be bored but his great interest in the Exeter Chiefs and rugby generally meant that he spent many happy hours listening to their matches on the radio. He followed most sports avidly and listened to the radio constantly
He always listened to the news on the television at six o’clock followed by the local news and was extremely upset if the carers came early to give him his supper before the local news had finished. He also insisted on taking the television plug out at the socket as he said it was dangerous to leave it in. This necessitated him crawling across the floor so that he could feel where the socket was located!
His great wish was to try and remain independent and not to have to leave Summerfield House where he knew exactly where everything was placed. This wish he achieved. His death was sudden and unexpected and it is very sad that he is the last member of the Brandle family but it is also a great relief that we know he really wished to die at home and that this wish was fulfilled.
Many thanks to Kenneth’s cousin, Gill Schofield, for this obituary.
We are extremely grateful to Kenneth for the generous legacy he bequeathed the Foundation. We are in discussions with the family regarding the appropriate use of this legacy.
A tribute to Kenneth Brandle (68-70G) from his cousin, Gill Schofield. More...