Tributes have been paid to a man described as a rock by the Saddleworth arts community.
Since Kenneth Arthur Deighton MBE, aged 92, died the community have been mourning his loss.
He was a founder committee member and director of the Saddleworth Festival of the Arts from 1957 until the festival finished in 2019.
A man who always preferred non-stage roles, Mr Deighton was a former President of Saddleworth Musical Society, former president of Saddleworth Players and later President and director of the Millgate Arts Centre in Delph.
He was passionate about music and the arts, and keen to support local arts-based organisations.
Outside the arts, Mr Deighton was a founder member of both Saddleworth Round Table, and Saddleworth Rotary Club, holding the chairmanship of both organisations at various times.
He was a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, the Luncheon Club and a member of the 91 Club and Saddleworth Civic Trust.
He was awarded the MBE for services to the water industry in 1989 in recognition of his contribution to environmental initiatives around the north west.
At the time he received his award from the Queen, he said: “It was a day that will live long in my memory, the like of which I have never experienced before.”
Paying tribute to Mr Deighton, Ian Shepherd, current chairman of Millgate Arts Centre, said: “Ken remained an active member of Millgate Arts Centre until his failing health forced him to step back recently.
“His contribution to Millgate and the wider arts community over many decades cannot be over-stated.
“I had known him for over 40 years through several organisations.
“He was always a only a telephone call away offering any support needed.
“He is a sad loss to us all, and we pass on our heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends.”
Sam Al-Hamdani, who worked with Mr Deighton at Saddleworth Players for more than 20 years, said: “Ken was a stalwart at Saddleworth Players.
“The Millgate, like so many volunteer-run groups, relies on a few people who do end up getting everything done, and those who work behind the scenes are even more valuable.
“Ken spent many years doing exactly that, and it’s a tribute to him that Saddleworth Players is the much-loved institution that it is.
“Whether it was running committees, proof-reading the programmes, or helping sort out any number of jobs that crop up, he was always there to do his bit, and more.”
Mr Deighton leaves his wife Marion, two sons John and David, daughter in laws Rita and Hazel, grand-children Paul, Laura and Katie.
He was also a great-grandfather to Xander.
His family say he lived life to the full, but recently ill health took hold and the family thanked the wonderful care at Butler Green, Stoneswood House and Tameside Hospital for their expertise and compassion.
Mr Deighton’s funeral service takes place at 11.30am on February 9 at Saddleworth Church, followed by committal at Hollinwood crematorium at 1pm.
reproduced by permission of Ken Bennett