Our very own Ken Carter appeared as a special guest on the June 20th episode of the Null & Void Sports Podcast, hosted by Tony Grundy and Andy Callaghan.

He discussed his sport, his life experience, and of course the excellent charity work he is involved with (including of course, this charitable enterprise!)

You can play the podcast below or find it wherever you normally get your podcasts (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc). Ken is introduced at 37:42.

Sport, Life Experiences & Ken Carter

  1. 1937
    I shall be looking back over 86yrs as I was born in Tavistock (Devon) in 1937. Tavistock may ring a bell with some of the listeners as Sir Francis Drake was also born in Tavistock. He became famous by sailing around the world in three years. Sailing as a sport has always blossomed due to being near the sea and rivers in Devon. However, I never became a “Sailor”!

  2. 1939
    When the “2nd World War began my father who was an RAF Engineering Mechanic joined the Fleet Air Arm and I never saw him for another 7 years. My mother and Grandmother lived in Street (Somerset) throughout the war. This was the home of the Clarks Shoe Factory where my mother worked. It seems that I became really good at football and swimming. Clarks gave the village a swimming pool so that the locals could enjoy themselves and try to forget about the “Nazi/Hitler” war!

  3. 1945
    When the war ended, I was still attending the Street County Mixed School and continued to be really good at Football. After taking the 11+ examinations, I was given the opportunity to attend St. Bonifaces College in Plymouth which was an Irish Christian Brother’s School. They were incredibly strict and cruel and used the leather STRAP for all punishments whether for Sport or Academia!

  4. 1948-1954
    I played fly half for the St Boniface’s 1st XV and we were highly successful. The word “Lose” was not in my/our vocabulary. I was more than delighted to be invited to play for Plymouth Albion Rugby Senior team as their fly half. I made great strides by playing at the school level for Devon, Cornwall and later had a trial for the England Schoolboys team but didn’t get a National Cap as there was a great deal of competition around at that time.

  5. 1955
    Due to the publicity I received for my rugby playing and especially in Somerset papers, the Headmaster, Mr Facer of the Street County Mixed School who was a friend of my father suggested that I should try to get a Sports Scholarship to Millfield School which was situated in Street.

  6. An appointment was arranged for my father & I to see the Headmaster of this very International School namely R. J. O. Meyer. Read some of the short contribution I produced in the “MILLFIELD : A SCHOOL FOR ALL SEASONS Ken Carter (1955-1956) –pages 44, 45 & 46.

    I cannot speak too highly as to what the School did to improve my Sporting and Academic standards. I studied English, Economics & History at A Level and came out with extremely high grades due to the very small class numbers and outstanding teachers! Robert Bolt was my English Teacher and he wrote “The Man for All Seasons”.

  7. 1956-1958
    On leaving Millfield School I was required to undertake National Service for two years. I decided to try to be recruited into the Royal Marines…after an incredibly intense medical examination I was offered the chance to become a “real” Royal Marine and pursue their training at Lympstone (nr. Exeter, Devon). See https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/locations-and-operations/bases-and-stations/ctcrm-lympstone. The next four months were the toughest I have ever experienced. The Trainers were ruthless and got very near to killing you with “Death Slides” and other dangerous exercises. As a result of my incredible fitness, I was selected to play Rugby for the Royal Marine’s team. In the team were Simon Clarke, Richard Sharpe and other Internationals. I also played for Devonport Services RFU and really enjoyed the experience. On leaving Lympstone, I choose to go on HMS Cumberland & spent well over a year patrolling the Mediterranean Sea. We did have the chance to play Rugby & Cricket when we went into Malta. I was the Captain of both Sports so I did “splice the main brace” now & then! The last three months of my NS was spent in Northern Ireland patrolling the border. Thank goodness there was peace between the Catholics and Protestants at that time when I was at RNAS Eglinton.

  8. 1958-1961
    On completing my National Service, I became a PE (Physical Education) student at Loughborough Colleges (now a University). I found it difficult to get into the Loughborough 1st XV Rugby team as at that time Bev Risman was the 1st XV’s Fly Half. Bev was one of the world’s best players & later captained the British Lions which beat the All Blacks in New Zealand. I did manage to play for Nottingham RFU and Leicester RFU over the 3 years I was at Loughborough.

  9. 1961-1965
    My next stepping stone was obtaining a position as a Sports Teacher (as well as teaching English & History) at the Oratory School in Woodcote (Oxon). I realised almost immediately that there was a lot of talented young boys/pupils who needed to be trained to the highest level possible. Very early on, I started to take them on 10/15mile runs at 6.00am so as to build up their physical and mental fitness…they soon realised how important it was to be far fitter than your opponents. Very soon we were beating every school on our fixture list due to our “superior fitness”. We didn’t lose a game in our first season!! One of my outstanding Rugby and Cricket players Peter Boos still remains a lifelong friend. Peter was born in Trinidad but has lived in Barbados for most of his life. He became Managing Director of Ernst and Young for the whole of the West Indies. One of his Sporting Friends in Barbados is Sir Gary Sobers who is still rated as one of the greatest cricketers ever! I also want to mention James de Albuquerque who was the Head Boy at the Oratory Preparatory School near Poole and later went to the Oratory School in Woodcote. He was an outstanding cricketer, sportsman, businessman and also a Trustee/Director of Specialkidz International due to having a lovely daughter with a Learning Disability.

  10. Whilst I was at the Oratory Senior School, I managed to play for the Blackheath RFU 1st Team. Blackheath is the oldest club in the country and it was a privilege to play for them. We did go on a memorable Rugby tour to Uganda & Kenya. However, due to the South African’s racial and political issues we all agreed not to visit them on this occasion. The word “Apartheid” became the most commonly used name associated with South Africa.

  11. At the end of my Rugby playing days, I joined London Irish and had some wonderful experiences both on the field and in the Guinness Bars! Half the team were doctors and our captain was a dentist. Our Hooker was the Captain of the British Lions and an eminent surgeon who didn’t operate on a Monday or Tuesday as his hands would shake too much from too much Guinness… probably 15 pints or more!!

  12. 1976-1984
    Due to my daughter Dawn-Louise being born profoundly deaf, I stopped my teaching of Sport & Physical Activities and trained to be a Teacher of the Deaf at the Institute of Education at London University. On completion of my course, I took up a position at the City Literary Institute in London in teaching Adult Deaf Students who came from different parts of the world. It was a real challenge as most of them tried to communicate in another language with English as their second language.

  13. 1984-1993
    The turning point in my career was to be recruited by Professor Harold Silver who was the Principal of Bulmershe College of HE near Reading as the Senior Research Consultant for the Berkshire Deaf/Hearing Consortium to be based at the College. We started to recruit “Deaf students” so as to improve their education and also assist hearing students in learning sign language including other forms of visual communication. Two deaf students Craig Crowley and Stuart Harrison. Craig went onto become the President of the Students Union and a qualified Social Worker whilst Stuart became a qualified Teacher. Both of them became involved in UK Deaf Sports as they were very good at Football and other Physical Activities. One of the highlights in Bulmershe’s Development was the setting up of the Theatre of the Deaf which was ably led by Daphne Payne who was deaf herself and an outstanding Lecturer in Theatre Studies.

  14. 1993-2004
    Due to Bulmershe College of Education being closed down and becoming part of the Institute of Education, University of Reading, Professor Harold Silver encouraged a few of us to set up DEAFAX as an independent Charitable Enterprise and become independent from the University but still keeping our main office & research centre within the University. This initiative led onto other colleagues and I setting up more companies limited by guarantee/non-profit making; and registered Charities with the Charity Commission. The names & websites are as follows:

  15. 1915-2024
    Up until recently, Deaf Sports First was known as DSFF (Deaf Sports & Football Foundation)but the other Trustees and I decided to drop the words Football Foundation as we wanted to focus on Innovation, Research, Science & Technology. We are looking to assist any D/deaf person in the UK, whether in education or seeking work to maximise their sporting potential. That support can come in various forms, such as communication, logistics, training, sports & science technology, grants, dieticians and more.

  16. Having lived in Henley-on-Thames for over 30 years, it was inevitable that I should take an interest in top class rowing as I have attended most of the Royal Regattas. Three individuals stand out for me. They are:

    • Sir Steve Redgrave CBE DL who won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000. He has also won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine World Rowing Championships golds.

    • Sir Matthew Pinsent, CBE won 10 world championship gold medals and four consecutive Olympic gold medals. Since retiring, he has worked as a sports broadcaster for the BBC.

    • Helen Glover MBE is a British professional rower and a member of the Great Britain Rowing Team. Ranked the number 1 female rower in the world in 2015–16, she is a two-time Olympic champion, triple World champion, quintuple World Cup champion and quintuple European champion.

      My interest in Helen is that I played Rugby against her father, Jim Glover who was a top class Rugby player for Bristol and captained Oxford University and Cornwall. He also played against the All Blacks in 1963-64. Helen attended Millfield School and Bath University before taking up Rowing seriously. She now lives on the borders of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire with her husband, naturalist Steve Backshall MBE, and their three children. She is hoping to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics and win her 3rd Olympic Gold medal.

  17. I enjoy meeting different interesting people at the Henley River & Rowing Museum which looks at the past, the journey of the Sport of Rowing and the personalities of the River Thames.