Tribute to man of many talents

Fred and Gill Kennett

Fred and Gill Kennett

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A colour blind artist who once exhibited at the Royal Academy has died aged 68.

Fred Kennett was a man of many talents. He was a seaman, a cook, a child care worker to name just a few of his roles. His work also informed his pen and ink drawings with ships being a frequent topic.

Veno's by the late Fred Kennett

Veno's by the late Fred Kennett

Mr Kennett was well known in Wakefield from his time running Barker’s newsagents and grocery store with his wife Gill in St John’s in the mid 1970s and from his roles in the trade union movement .

He was an avid rugby league fan and followed Hull FC. He died suddenly at home in Hull on May 8 while watching his team play St Helens. His passing was mentioned by commentator Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson on Sky Sports during the Magic Weekend.

Mrs Kennett said: “He was a lifelong Hull FC fan but his second favourite team was Wakefield Trinity.”

One of the couple’s customers from their seven-year stint in Wakefield was former top RL referee Fred Lindop.

Mrs Kennett said: “He used to wind Fred Lindop up when he came into the shop and there was friendly banter between the two.”

After working at the shop Mr Kennett worked as a delivery driver for a frozen food company in Wakefield. He was a devoted socialist and formed unions while working in this sector.

He had a strong sense of “social justice”, which stemmed from him witnessing mass poverty in India when he was 18-year-old merchant seaman.

Mrs Kennett said: “He was a wonderful husband, friend, father and granddad. His beliefs and social justice extend into his home. We always had an equal relationship.”

Several of his old Wakefield comrades and rugby friends were among the 300 people at his funeral service in Hull last Monday.

Mr Kennett is survived by his wife of 47 years, daughter Justine Krygier and son Adrian Kennett - who followed in his dad’s union footsteps and is a branch secretary Unison - and six grandsons. Donations in Fred’s memory can be made to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.