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Veteran Sheppey radio 'ham' Ted Trowell dies aged 98

One of Britain’s oldest and longest-serving radio 'hams' has died only weeks after celebrating his 98th birthday.

Edward Harry 'Ted' Trowell from Minster, Sheppey, was in contact with thousands of amateur radio operators across the world from the age of 15 in 1938 when gained his first radio licence.

Ted Trowell, one of the eldest radio hams, died at his home in Minster, Sheppey, aged 98
Ted Trowell, one of the eldest radio hams, died at his home in Minster, Sheppey, aged 98

Many of his overseas contacts remained lifelong friends and visited Ted and his late wife Stella at their first home in Clyde Street, Sheerness and then to their final home in Saxon Avenue, Minster.

Despite a lifetime of deafness following a childhood illness, Ted remained an active operator. His lifelong love of amateur radio had a major boost in the 1970s when he underwent pioneering surgery to enhance his hearing.

He initially worked in Sheerness Dockyard and although his deafness precluded military service he became a member of Sheppey's Home Guard during the Second World War. In the late 1940s he was recruited as a member of a hush-hush group of Cold War wireless listeners reporting on international radio traffic.

After Sheerness Dockyard closed in 1960 he transferred to Chatham Dockyard but after giving a talk on radio to a Rotary Club he was head-hunted by Frank Matthews to work at his radio and television store in Sheerness High Street. He stayed there until he retired and was known by many Islanders as "the man who came to fix the telly”.

Both Ted and Stella were stalwarts of Holy Trinity Church, Sheerness. Stella was church secretary and Ted was churchwarden. Stella latterly developed dementia and moved to a care home near Dartford until her death in 2020.

'The man who came to fix the telly'

In 2014 Ted moved into Bromfield House care home in Minster Road and was allowed to install his radio equipment in his room with an aerial wire snaking out of his window and around the building. His walls were covered with framed certificates and awards from all over the world covering his lifetime of service to the 'ham' radio world.

He leaves one daughter, Lynne, who is married to retired vicar the Rev Colin Johnson, and one granddaughter, Clare Solberg who lives with her husband Courtney in North Dakota USA.

His funeral will be at the Garden of England Crematorium, Bobbing, on Tuesday, May 18, at noon.

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