'A real gentleman' - Tributes to former headteacher who became a councillor

Philip Kemp was a former town and district councillor in Norfolk

Philip Kemp was a former town and district councillor in Norfolk - Credit: SUPPLIED

A former councillor and headteacher has been described as a “real gentleman” following his death at the age of 92. 

One of nine children, Philip John Kemp was born in 1929 and grew up in Long Melford, near Sudbury, Suffolk. 

His father Charlie, a well-read and self-educated man, and mother Alice were proud when Mr Kemp, along with his brothers Bobby and Donald, won a scholarship to Sudbury Grammar School. 

From there, he attended the College of St Mark and St John in Chelsea where he obtained a degree in education. He expanded his education later by attending Hull University and Loughborough University. 

His first teaching job was at Cockfield Junior School, near Long Melford, where he bought a Royal Enfield motorcycle to commute each day. During his time there, he played football for the Cockfield Reserves. 

Philip Kemp became headmaster at the newly-built Whitefriars School in King’s Lynn

Philip Kemp became headmaster at the newly-built Whitefriars School in King’s Lynn, opened by the late Queen Mother (pictured).  - Credit: SUPPLIED

After moving to Norfolk, he became headmaster at several schools including the first at the newly-built Whitefriars School in King’s Lynn, opened by the late Queen Mother.    

Mr Kemp married his first wife Heather and together they had three children. He met his second wife, Myrna, in 1989, following Heather’s death. 

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The couple married in 1993 at Fakenham Registry Office, followed by a Catholic church blessing three months later in the Philippines. Despite a 39-year age difference, they enjoyed 28 years of marriage. 

“Philip was a wonderful man and a loving husband,” Mrs Kemp said. “An excellent father to our daughter, a brilliant teacher and a great listener. He was my best friend.” 

Philip Kemp in 1995 after being elected during the North Norfolk District Council election

Philip Kemp in 1995 after being elected during the North Norfolk District Council election. Pictured with wife, Myrna. - Credit: SUPPLIED

In 1995, Mr Kemp stood as a Labour candidate for The Raynhams ward in the North Norfolk District Council election and won. He served two terms from 1995 to 2003. He was also deputy mayor at Fakenham Town Council before resigning ahead of a move to Gressenhall after living in the market town for 13 years. 

As well as being a long-standing member of the Labour party, Mr Kemp was churchwarden and treasurer at St Martin’s in South Raynham. He also enjoyed orchestral music, politics, cricket, football, watching the Cromer Pier Show and was passionate about history. 

His youngest sibling, Richard Kemp, added: “Philip to me was a loyal, honest, caring person, proud in his beliefs and a real gentleman.” 

Mr Kemp died on September 15, leaving behind his wife and children Joy, Sally, Andrew and Jonathan.

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