Chapter 7.  The Final Whistle

Kenneth Hunt and his wife Charlotte, moved to the small town of Heathfield after living in London for nearly forty years. After the excitement of working with young people in that busy part of the Capital and having experienced the dangers and drama of the 'Blitz', life in rural Sussex must have seemed a tremendous contrast. However it was not in Kenneth Hunt's nature to allow life in Tillsmore Rd. to stagnate, even though he was not in the best of health.

As might be expected, he quickly settled into the community and started to take an active part in the life of the Church in the town. He became a ‘re1ief preacher’ as he had been whilst at Westward Ho! three years earlier. Within a few months he had organised a branch of ‘Toc H’, which undertook charitable work in the locality. This strangely named organisation, which had been formed by an Anglican Clergyman in 1922 sought to rekindle the spirit of camaraderie experienced by men in the trenches of the Western Front and Hunt's involvement and interest possibly harked back to his time as a trainer of boy soldiers at Highgate. The Heathfield branch regularly met at Hunt's home, 'Edgehill' where Mrs. Hunt would serve them refreshment. The branch is still in existence and continues to perform sterling work in the area. In a very positive way it represents an enduring tribute to Kenneth Hunt, who lived amongst those people but for a few years, and yet served them well

"Edgehill" Tillsmore Road, Heathfield. The final home of Kenneth Hunt and his wife Charlotte.                           

Even though he and his wife had developed an interest in gardening whilst living in Grindal House, he was to spend little time tending plants and flowers at 'Edgehill'. Together with his charity work, the allure of his old love, football, was never far from the surface. Even in his middle years at Highgate, his opinions and views on the sport were much sought after and respected at the highest levels. In the mid 1930s he had acted as an expert adviser to the F .A. in the making of an instructional film on football training, and this sort of involvement only increased after he had retired from teaching in 1946. 

The high regard felt for Kenneth Hunt resulted in him being elected on to the sport's governing body.

He joined the Football Association Council as Representative for the Amateur Football Alliance in 1946 and held this position until his untimely death some three years later. He was also honoured by being made the first President of an Oxford based amateur Football Club called 'Pegasus'. The concept of  Pegasus', the winged horse, as a symbol for the club had been arrived at as a compromise between the Oxford symbol of the 'Centaur', and the 'Falcon' symbol of Cambridge.

Formed in 1948, Pegasus was a fairly successful attempt to revitalise the Oxbridge Universities' involvement in football. Established in the 'Corinthian' mould of former years, Pegasus was made up of players who had already represented their own Colleges, and became one of the best amateur sides in Britain. Hunt would have been proud to witness the team's triumphs of the 1950s, when they won a trophy of some description every season, including the F.A. Amateur Cup in 1951 and 1953, but sadly this was not to be.

Kenneth Hunt passed away at his home on the morning of the 28th of April, 1949. Although he had been suffering from pneumonia for some time, his death was rather sudden and unexpected, as he was only a comparatively young sixty five years of age. 

Waldron Parish Churchyard. Kenneth Hunt's final resting place.

It is interesting to note that even on the day before his death, Hunt had been so concerned with football that he instructed his wife to contact the players and officials of ‘Pegasus’ regarding his views on the entry qualifications for Club membership.

As an F.A. Council member, Kenneth Hunt had been entitled to attend all major fixtures, and he was due to go up to London the following day in order to watch the F.A. Cup Final of that year.

Kenneth Hunt's medals and International Caps. (Wolverhampton Wanderers Collection).
Ironically the game was between Leicester and his old club Wolves. It almost seems as though fate had decided that Kenneth Hunt should not witness a repeat of his old team's triumph. 

So for those few short hours after his death until the final whistle blew at Wembley, he had the honour of being one of the last Wolves Cup Winners, as well as being the oldest man to represent his national team whilst remaining an amateur.

Kenneth Hunt's death was greeted by sadness in all the places he had been involved with in the course of his life. At Trent moving obituaries and memorial poems appeared in the School magazine, whilst at Highgate the obituaries were accompanied by appeals by the 'Old Cholmeleans' for a memorial to be established in his honour.

Hunt died a very wealthy man, bequeathing some £23,000. In his will be remembered both Trent College and 'Toc H'. To the former he left £500 to establish a prize in honour of his old mentor and friend the Reverend G. S. Warner. He donated £50 to 'Toc H', payable on the death of his widow, May, to whom the remainder of his money and possessions went.

In Wolverhampton little attention was given to Hunt's passing, as the town was again in the grip of 'Cup Fever', as it had been a generation before when he was playing for them. Hunt would have understood this, and would have undoubtedly forgiven Wulfrunians their lack of homage to the former hero.

Such is the fleeting and transient nature of fame!

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