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Christian Bookshop owner Ken Woods marks 100th birthday

By Beth Robson

The former owner of the Christian Bookshop in Deal High Street has marked his 100th birthday.

Ken Woods, who now lives in South Shields lived in Deal from 1956 to 2013.

Born in Croydon Hospital on May 3, 1919, he moved to Clacton-on-Sea when he was six years old and North Acton in 1930.

Centenarian Ken Woods ran the Christian Bookshop in Deal with wife Elsie
Centenarian Ken Woods ran the Christian Bookshop in Deal with wife Elsie

When he left school aged 14, he became a clerical assistant, eventually working with the Wesleyan and General.

As a clerical worker in Civvy Street, Mr. Woods was registered under the Militia Act. He was then allocated to Royal Army Ordnance Corps at Didcot, then to Chilwell, before joining Staff of HQ at 2nd London Division.

Here, he moved around the country, including to Hampshire where he was placed on coastal defence and had to contend with nightly air raids.

Mr Woods was then drafted to No.8 Ordnance Store Company in July 1942, where he spent seven weeks on Troopship Duchess of Atholl, landing in Suez.

He also had spells at sub depots in Geneifa, Cairo and Tura Caves, which is where Genesis’ Joseph is said to have stored his wheat.

In September 1956, He and wife Elsie moved the family from West London to Deal, where they took over the Christian Bookshop.

They became heavily involved as members of Victoria Road Baptist Church, with Elsie helping to run the Church’s Young People’s Fellowship.

They also became involved in the work and witness of Churches in and around Deal.

Family friend David Butcher said: “My sharpest memory is of Regatta week in Deal, when Ken would take a stall on the promenade to display a stock of Christian literature, and I joined him there, trying to sell the Good News newspaper to people in the crowds passing by; a pretty tough call. Sales were slow, but, as Ken would say, we made a witness by being there.”

Mr Woods said his highlight in Deal joining the platform party for the Naming Ceremony of the new Lifeboat, Charles Dibden, in July 1959 as president of Deal and Sandwich Free Church Federal Council.

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