Since coming to live in Wincanton Jeff almost immediately became Secretary of the Museum and it has been his relentless energy , efficiency and friendly manner which has been responsible for enthusing others and keeping the show on the road during a testing time when it almost looked as if the Museum might fold.
What Jeff has done here during the past eight years in some ways replicates his time living in Morchard Bishop in Devon for twenty-six years. There he was responsible for founding the Bowling Club and launching a town magazine which is now a thriving web-magazine. While there he also wrote and published three books on the town. They also arrived with their five children. They now have thirteen grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Jeff has written a short but fascinating biography, entitled JFK, his initials! In it he describes vividly his childhood in the East End and as an evacuee “billeted” with a variety of families both well-off and poor during the Second World War. His words evoke a tough and dangerous world and amazingly resilient people. It is hard to believe a couple could see such changes within one life-time.
After the war Jeff did National Service for a compulsory two years and was shipped out to serve in Malaysia and Hong Kong. On returning he soon met and married Molly in 1951 and rather reluctantly joined the police in St Albans. In 1963 he moved from the Hertford Constabulary to the Met. There he was able to pass the necessary courses and clearly showed considerable ability for he was promoted steadily, ending up as an acting Chief Inspector in Greenwich. In the course of his service he also had one particularly narrow escape. In 1976 he was confronted by an IRA gunman who had already killed a train driver and had fired at the police. He aimed at Jeff at point blank range, only to discover he had run out of ammunition. Jeff was highly commended and received the Bow Street Medal. He then chose to take early retirement in 78 at the age of 47. This gave him the opportunity to leave the city with his family and settle in Morchard Bishop with the intention of living as he says, “the Good Life, ” which clearly they did.
JEFF and MOLLY HONOURED
The sun forgot to sulk and the rain to fall giving us a lovely sunny afternoon on Saturday June30th for the Museum and History Society Garden Party Cream Tea. As last year this was held in the grounds of the Meeting House thanks to the generosity of the Wincanton Quakers.
In addition to Society members, the mayor, councillors and other supporters had been invited and there was a turnout of just under forty and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to socialise and tuck into the delicious home-made scones and cream.
The real focus of the afternoon however was for our President, Frank Foster, to make a presentation to Molly and Jeff Kingaby for all their work supporting the Society ever since they moved here some eight years ago. Jeff remains on the Committee but has now retired from being Secretary, a crucial role which he has carried out with tact, efficiency and enthusiasm.