It is with sadness that we announce the death of one of our most respected members, Ted Rouse, MBE, who died on 2 December 2015, at Darent Valley Hospital, after a short illness; he was  95 years old.

Ted was born in Bermondsey and Christened Ernest John Joshua Colin Rouse, but was known to all as ‘Ted’. His mother sadly died when he was 12 years old, which affected him greatly. He was successful in receiving a scholarship for Wilson’s Grammar School, Camberwell and, following matriculation, he joined the London County Council and successfully obtaining an administrative post at St Francis Hospital, Dulwich. At the start of the war tragedy struck when his father and grandmother were killed at the same time in an air raid.

Throughout the Second World War he served in the Royal Corps of Signals and commanded an independent mobile unit in the Normandy landings, reporting to Bletchley Park, and was mentioned in dispatches for “outstanding services in North West Europe”. He left the service in 1946 as a lieutenant and returned to the LCC, where he remained for the whole of his working life, rising to a senior position in the housing department. At this time he was living with wife Peggy at Northfleet, Kent, and they were both very active members of the Labour Party, being known as ‘The Terrible Twosome’!

Ted served on the former Northfleet Urban District Council for 24 years and was so devoted to the town and its people he was known affectionately as ‘Mr Northfleet’. When Government reorganisation in 1974 created the borough of Gravesham, he became leader of the new council, continuing as leader of the Labour group until 1981, and was made a freeman of the borough the following year.

He was a man of decision and took a great interest in people, helping wherever possible the young folk of the borough, particularly in their housing needs.

Ted was a member of Northfleet Rotary Club ‘Newspaper for the Blind’ team for more than 30 years and he said recording the newspaper gave him the most joy and satisfaction – other than his beloved cricket!

He was a long-time member of MCC and Surrey Cricket Club and was incredibly proud on one occasion to be able to take his grand-daughter into the prestigious Long Room at Lords, when the England Ladies cricket team was playing.

He was involved with many organisations in the borough including Rotary, Probus, Mencap and Town Twinning to mention a few. The funeral was well attended by respected dignitaries, including the sitting MP for Gravesham, Adam Holloway, together with two previous MPs one of whom, Jacques Arnold, is the Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.

He was a loyal servant to the people of Gravesend and Northfleet, devoted husband and family man, and was married to Peggy for 74 years. He had two sons, one of whom died at the age of 52, and he also leaves grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ted will be sadly missed by Probus members and all who had the pleasure and privilege of knowing him.

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