Pioneer of the post-war youth club movement, born on 30 September 1923 at Burton-on-Trent. He trained as a teacher at Westhill College, Birmingham and, after one year with the Methodist Youth Department and three years with the St. John’s Clubland youth club in Sheffield, returned to Westhill as a tutor. From 1955 to 1974 he was on the staff of the National Association of Youth Clubs. He had a gift for establishing relationships with young people and befriending those in trouble. At the height of the feuding between ‘mods and rockers’ in 1964 he was asked to visit Brighton to deal with their confrontations on the beach.
He later served with a succession of organisations, including the Royal Jubilee Trust and the Prince’s Trust, which brought him into close association with the Prince of Wales. In 1985 he took the Prince on a plain-clothes visit to Soho to see the plight of young homeless people in London.
In later years he was associated with the Charitable Aid Foundation, Kids International UK, and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council, and towards the end of his life he successfully led the campaign to establish the University of Derby’s multi-faith centre. His outstanding career won him an OBE in 1974 and a knighthood in 1988.
He was a local preacher for over 50 years, his sense of humour earning him the description of ‘the Ken Dodd of Methodism’. He was also a Scout leader. He died on 23 May 2010.