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ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section

ALE Spring 2004 No. 313

Cambridge CAMRA is mourning the death, at a tragically early age, of one of its absolute stalwarts, Ken Longford. Ken was a Branch member from our earliest days and a key figure in the development of the Cambridge Beer Festival. He also worked at many beer festivals run by other branches of CAMRA, offering them the experience gained at Cambridge. It was as a Great British Beer Festival section head of security that he gained the nickname 'Hairy Womble' (all security staff there use funny names over the walkie-talkies). He also looked after our counters and other equipment, maintaining it and issuing it to other festivals.

Ken took over as festival organiser for the last couple of events held at the Corn Exchange. By then it was becoming clear that a change of venue was required, the Corn Exchange having become both too small and too expensive for our purposes. Ken took the brave decision to move to an outdoor tented festival at the Cambridge City football ground. For an organiser, this was a logistical nightmare as many of the things that you take for granted at an indoor site just aren't there in a tent! However, the team, under Ken, rose to the challenge and, after a shaky start, the move to the great outdoors proved to be an inspired one. The chances of the festival returning to the confines of four walls are now nil.

Like many CAMRA members, Ken was a strong character with robust views and firmly-held opinions. This contributed to his encountering a personality clash within the organisation during the mid 1990s, a very regrettable period - though Ken's enthusiasm for real ale never faltered and he could still be found in the Portland Arms relishing his pint of IPA. In recent years, happily, Ken re-emerged to give invaluable assistance to the current festival organiser, Shaun Marsh, and to work at the festival itself.

Ken was an old-fashioned CAMRA member - strong on principles and a firm believer that CAMRA should concentrate on promoting quality real ale rather than what he regarded as peripheral issues. He was also extremely good company, and a great conversationalist at the bar: even if you didn't agree with him, you were guaranteed an intelligent and informed debate. He will be hugely missed.


ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA