Obituary – Ken Summer

Ken Sumner, former proprietor of NDY Coaches, died on 2 April, a month short of his 97th birthday.

Always a gentleman, Ken was born in Canada, though his family returned to England during the Depression. He left school slightly early to join the RAF and completed two tours, first with 44th Rhodesia Squadron, where he won the Distinguished Flying Medal, and then with the famous 617 ‘Dam Busters’ squadron at Petwood House, serving as a navigator and bomb aimer on Lancasters. He married Rennie in 1946 in Lincoln and they were together for close to 70 years. After demob they ran a farm at North Duffield before moving to Newcastle where Ken worked for the local Vauxhall dealer, Adams & Gibbon, selling Bedford trucks. This he accomplished on foot for some time, before being allocated a Bedford CA van.

At the 1959 Earls Court Motor Show he met Alf Moseley Senior, who had just left W.S.Yeates and was setting up his own coach dealership. Ken became the company’s first salesman with an area that stretched from Scotland to the Midlands to begin with. ‘We only ever saw him on Sundays,’ son Graham recalls. He subsequently set up and ran a Moseley depot in Durham, based at the old Cosy Coaches premises in Brandon, and recruited another coach dealing legend, Cyd Fairless. In 1971 he joined Beeline Coaches for four years before setting up NDY Coach Sales in 1975, where he was joined by Graham in 1977.

Always active, he participated in the Great North Run every year between the ages of 70 and 75, and again when he was 80, covering a 60 mile stretch of the Great Wall of China in the same year. He remained with the business until 2004, and continued to take an interest thereafter.

He leaves his three children, Warren, Lorelle and Graham, eight grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. The funeral will be held on 17 April under the current restrictions preventing all but very close family paying their respects. 

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