By David Jackson, May 2008
TRIBUTES have been paid to the man known as the king of the conker world.
To many Victor Owen was the mascot of the annual world conker championships held in Ashton. He died at his home in Oundle on Wednesday April 23rd 2008 aged 76. His sister-in-law, Vera Owen, said he lived for conkers and would often take three days off work before each event.
She said: “He was very much a part of it. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to be there the last couple of years as was finding it hard to get around – but it’s fair to say he lived for it. He loved seeing all those people come to the village each year, especially the younger children who would have photographs taken with him.”
Mrs Owen said Vic was brought up in the villages of Warmington and Ashton, before moving to Oundle. He never married. When he wasn’t gracing the Ashton village green, Mr Owen could be spotted gardening in and around Oundle. He did a lot of work on the Rothchild’s Ashton Wold estate.
Secretary of the Ashton Conker Club John Hadman paid tribute to a friend who he had known most of his life. He said: “I knew Victor for more than 70 years. We grew up together and he was one of my first friends. We met when we were about four, he lived opposite to me and we used to play conkers together.”
“In the early 1970s he took over as ‘King Conker’ from his cousin’s husband and he carried on with that role until only two years ago when he retired. Victor didn’t compete in the conker championship but always introduced and opened the competition – he loved it.
“I will remember him as a kind-hearted, lovely person who was a good friend. He always took time to talk to people every year at the festival. In many ways he was a living mascot. He will be missed by a lot of people.”
Mr Owen’s funeral took place at the Church of St Peter, Oundle, on Thursday May 1st 2008. Donations to the Royal National Institute for the Blind can be sent to Crowsons Funeral Directors, 48 Barnwell, nr Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5PS.
This article is reproduced by courtesy of the Northants Evening Telegraph. (C) 2008