It is with the greatest of regrets that I tell you that Ken Ohlson, our much loved, respected and esteemed Past President died unexpectedly early this morning 22 April 2018. Ken has suffered from a number of health issues over the last year, as well as caring for his wife Jill. As those at the Annual Dinner on Friday will know, he had rung me in the morning very disappointed that he was not well enough to attend the dinner due to a bad chest infection.
Ken joined Sutton Cricket Club around 1940 before going off to join the war effort. He re-joined in 1946 after the war and played until the mid-1960s. He captained one of the two half-day sides for many years before becoming the very successful 1st XI Captain from 1962 to1965. He served on the Committee for several years in many roles including 6 years as Chairman.
During his time as Chairman, Ken was the architect of giving the Club long-term financial stability with a groundbreaking partnership with the development of a new clubhouse through granting a long-term lease arrangement with a Squash Club (now a Gym). The pavilion has recently been extensively refurbished and this was officially opened by Ken in July 2012 when a Gala dinner was held in his honour to celebrate and thank him for his years of service.
In 1966 he was one of the Sutton representatives at the meeting of Surrey Cricket Clubs at which the idea that a form of Championship should be set up. As we know this came into being in 1968 and had the full support of Ken, and he was as delighted as anyone that we won the Championship in its inaugural year.
In 1982 on the death of the then President, Ernest Henderson, Ken took up the role as only the 8th President of the Club. A role in which he threw himself wholeheartedly into with his great love of cricket and Sutton Cricket Club. During his Presidency, Sutton went on to win the Surrey Championship three more times in 1991, 2006 and 2009.
In 2012 Ken, then only a couple of years short of 90, asked to stand down as President after 30 years of unstinting service. He thus became the first Past President in the Club’s history,
Last year the Club felt the function room in the Clubhouse should be firmly linked with Sutton Cricket Club and its peoples to maintain both tradition and relevance. The name chosen was the Ken Ohlson Room. Ken was most humbled and honoured by this choice as he mentioned to me on several occasions after that. It is a lasting and fitting memorial for all of us who have known him.
Ken also served with distinction and was well known for his work in wider circuits including Surrey CCC and the Sports Council.
On a personal note, I owe Ken a huge debt of gratitude. It was he who brought me into Sutton Cricket Club in 1960 and gave me as a young man the opportunities to progress. In many ways, he was like a father figure to me as my own father fell ill and died a few years later. I always could talk to Ken and receive help and advice right up to the end of his life. I will miss him greatly.
To Jill, his four children Richard, Hilly, Christopher and Jonny, and to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, we send our deepest sympathies.
Ian Philippe [President of Sutton Cricket Club]