My debt to the man who was ‘Mr Ash­ford’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

THIS week’s Ex­press Cut­tings looks back at a piece pub­lished in Tues­day Ex­press, a fore­run­ner to the Ash­ford Ex­tra, on De­cem­ber 3, 1974, and de­scribes both the en­thu­si­asm and reser­va­tions of 16-year-old Howard Turner sur­round­ing the Chang­ing Face of Ash­ford. Many lo­cal peo­ple will re­mem­ber Mr Turner’s late fa­ther – Ash­ford councillor Gor­don Turner, for­mer mayor, cel­e­brated or­a­tor, ac­knowl­edged author­ity on the his­tory of the town, and cham­pion am­bas­sador as Ward councillor for New­town. It is ap­par­ent from this piece that his fa­ther’s pas­sion for the town had cer­tainly in­flu­enced Howard from a young age, fol­low­ing in his fa­ther’s foot­steps by pho­tograph­ing and re­search­ing the town. See­ing this cut­ting from 1974, strikes a chord with me. I started my in­ter­ests and re­search at the age of 10. It is some­what ironic that, among many oth­ers, Gor­don was one of the many au­thor­i­ties on the town that I ini­tially con­sulted when I first be­came in­ter­ested in the town’s his­tory, and I owe huge thanks to him for his en­cour­age­ment and his im­mense en­thu­si­asm to­wards my re­search. I have fond mem­o­ries of Gor­don, and un­til now have not re­ally had the chance to record the huge re­spect I had for him. I still greatly miss him. It was some of Howard’s pic­tures that I first saw upon meet­ing Gor­don, and he had cov­ered ev­ery corner of the town that, at the time, was ‘soon’ to dis­ap­pear. Cllr Turner was in­stru­men­tal in the suc­cess of the town’s twin­ning with the Hopewell Twin­ning As­so­ci­a­tion in the United States in par­tic­u­lar, and was quite rightly vo­cal and de­fen­sive of the town that he loved and en­joyed so much. Born in Ash­ford, he was the son of jew­eller and watch­maker Thomas Mor­ris Turner, whose premises were ad­ja­cent to the Co-op in the Lower High Street. Howard’s pas­sion for the town of Ash­ford con­tin­ues to­day. Both he and his mother, Gor­don’s widow Betty, al­ways en­deav­our to keep the work of Gor­don alive, but most of all his me­mory.

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