Kenneth George Francis Balfour, M.C., B.E.M.
14th June 1909- 25th. January 1998
Kenneth Balfour was born and brought up in the county of Dorset, the third of six children of Lt.Col. Kenneth.R. Balfour, former Conservative MP for Christchurch, Bournemouth.
Kenneth really wanted to be a journalist – he studied at Harvard University in Boston where he read English Literature and developed his enormous love of English and European History - but his return from Harvard in the 30’s found England in the grip of the Depression and jobs were extremely scarce.
He initially found work in the insurance industry but in 1938 went over to Spain during the Spanish Civil War where he spent several months sending back reports to The Morning Post in London.
War was by that time threatening the rest of Europe and, already in the supplementary reserve of his father’s regiment, the First Royal Dragoons, he went directly to join the regiment in Palestine at the outbreak of war.
He served in Egypt, Sudan, and Abyssinia. In the Western Desert, he spent a time with the Long Range Desert Group, and took part in the battles of Tobruk and El Alamein. He went on to Italy and North-West Europe and finally took part in the liberation of Denmark
The regiment landed in France two days after D-Day and they fought through France, Belguim and Holland and were amongst the first British troops engaged in the assault crossing the Rhine. Kenneth won his military Cross during the battle of Arnem and was twice mentioned in dispatches .
Kenneth Balfour gave a remarkable eye-witness account of a battle against German Tanks in a Dutch Village in September 1944. It was for his part in this battle that he was awarded his Military Cross.
He had a highly energetic and enquiring mind and an appetite to explore the world, travelling extensively in Uganda and up the Niger river to Timbuctoo. In 1961, aged 52, he climbed the Matterhorn (14,692ft). On reaching the top he was disappointed to find that the weather and light conditions were not ideal for photography – so he climbed the mountain again the following day!
Such and active and adventurous spirit relies greatly on excellent physical well-being. His lifelong recourse to help from many physiotherapists ranged from a fall from his horse as a cavalry officer in 1942, through the inevitable aches and pains of everyday life to his final and prolonged battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
In 1978, he married Heather Whitaker, a London based physiotherapist whose treatments had for several years enabled him to continue an extremely active life, which included riding his horse several times a week in Windsor Great Park.
In 1988, wanting to commemorate both his wife and his gratitude to physiotherapy, he contacted Wendy Blythe, then chairman of OCPPP – and from this meeting the Private Physiotherapy Educational Foundation (the PPEF) was born – a charitable wing to the profession, concerned primarily with education.
Kenneth was a highly intelligent and generous man who inspired affection and respect from both family and friends and employees. An entertaining and stimulating companion, he himself valued the benefit of education in all its guises and one of his lasting legacies will be the promulgation of knowledge through the OCPPP Educational Foundation.