Hector McNiven Young (1928-2008)


Hector McNiven Young - 1998.

Hector McNiven Young was born on the 22nd November 1928 in the port town of Inverkeithing, Fife, Scotland. Moving to Newark, Nottinghamshire as a boy, he attended the town’s Magnus Grammar School. Keeping his association with the school throughout his life, he was president of the Old Magnusians Association for four years, a governor for 15 years and a member of the Thomas Magnus Foundation.                                                                                           

On leaving Magnus Grammar School, Hector went to Loughborough University where he studied English and Physical Education. Following graduation, he taught for two years at Mirfield Grammar School West, Yorkshire.

In 1955, along with Joan and their young son Stuart, Hector set off to the British Crown colony of Aden where he had obtained a position in education with the Colonial Service. During this period he devoted much of his spare time fundraising and training Arab sportsmen. He took a group of these athletes, representing Aden, to the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Western Australia. This was followed in 1966 to Kingston, Jamaica, these athletes now representing South Arabia. Unfortunately no medals were won on either occasion.

After 12 years service in Aden, Hector with his family, daughter Karen had now come along, returned to England to take up residence in Winthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire. Continuing in education he was appointed head of adult education at Grantham College, Lincolnshire. In 1985, he was awarded a Page Scholarship by the English Speaking Union, leaving for a month’s tour of the USA, visiting universities and colleges to study teacher training and educational provision for the unemployed. During this trip he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1978, Hector became a magistrate at Newark Magistrates Court until his retirement from the bench in 1999. (Magistrates have to step down when reaching the age of 70 years.) Along with the many tributes paid to him for his wisdom on the bench, he was presented with a book ‘History of Chequers,’ written by Mrs. Norma Major, wife of a former Conservative Prime Minister. (1990-1997) During nine years of this period he also served on the Nottinghamshire Magistrates Courts finance and personnel committee, and was a member of their building subcommittee during the construction of new courthouses in Nottingham and Mansfield.

Besides his many work commitments, Hector was highly involved in many Winthorpe organisations. In 1967, the year he arrived in the village, he assisted in the project to build a tennis court, the one on the edge of the cricket ground. This was the first taste of what was to come from him. He has either been a member or chairman of numerous organisations in the village, including the cricket, tennis and football clubs and the parochial church council. He served as chairman of Winthorpe Parish Council for the majority of his eight years, as a councillor from 1971 to 1979. In 1983 he initiated the purchase of the Woodlands Play Area which was to cost £6,000 and saw it to its fruition

In 1996, Hector had the idea of celebrating the New Millennium with a Community Centre. This would replace the youth club, which was built during his tenure as the parish council chairman. A project committee was formed with Hector as its Chairman. With the help of many people, a design was agreed, money raised and the Community Centre was completed with its opening on the 20th May 2000. His final position was chairman of the Community Centre Trustees until ill-health forced him to retire. He was then presented with an original watercolour painting of the Community Centre painted by David Morris, Peter Foden presenting Hector Young with an original watercolour painting of Winthorpe Community Centre - 12th May 2004. the building’s architect. On the bottom of the painting is the following:-

“Presented to Hector Young in gratitude for all his hard work during the creation and the early years of the Winthorpe Community Centre on the occasion of his retirement as Chairman of the Trustees.”

Hector died on the 2nd November 2008, aged 79 years. His ashes are interred in the graveyard of All Saints’ Church, Winthorpe.

In December’s 2008 issue of ‘Focal Point,’ the village magazine for Winthorpe, Langford and Holme, Cliff Newbold, its editor wrote:-                                       

“There are some who just live in Winthorpe. There are others who share and give support to the village activities and then there is a small band of people who work tirelessly to enhance our lives. Hector was certainly one of the latter. He was the quintessential chairman, a man who had the ability to co-opt people onto his various committees and keep projects moving forward, always with his main objective being the improvement to the village amenities. Even whilst not in good health he was writing to the District Council to try and get our roads resurfaced and writing to help try and prevent closure of the Post Office. In Homer’s Iliad, Hector was a ‘Prince of Troy’; here Hector was a ‘Prince of Winthorpe’. So thank you Hector for enriching my life here and God Bless Joan and may she draw comfort and pride knowing how much he managed to achieve whilst living amongst us.”

Pat Finn. December 2010.Memorial and Flowering Plum Tree dedicated to Hector Young - 2009.


We all have many memories of Hector, but this one always sticks in my mind. Using a sweeping brush and shovel Hector was filling several plastics bags with fruit. The fruit had fallen from a tree onto the public footpath and road some distance from his house. When I asked him why he was cleaning up, he said, “Pat, I do not want anyone slipping and injuring themselves.”

Aden, a British Crown colony from 1937 – 1963 is now a seaport city in Yemen.

In 2009, in memory of Hector, a memorial stone and a ‘Flowering Plum’ tree, Prunus x blireana was planted by his wife Joan, daughter Karen, her husband Erik and their children Brandon and Brenna on the grassy area in front of the Community Centre.

Sadly, Karen who lived with her family in Los Angeles, USA died in 2010 and her ashes are interred alongside her father.