Diplomat known for his tennis parties dies aged 95

Retired diplomat Stanley Jenkins, a well-known figure in Ferring, has died at the age of 95.

Stanley Jenkins with his autobiography, So Much To Do So Little Time
Stanley Jenkins with his autobiography, So Much To Do So Little Time

Mr Jenkins had been the oldest surviving president of the National Union of Students, having been at the helm of the movement during the critical post-war period.

He and his wife, Barbara, moved to Ferring with their family in the 1960s, towards the end of his distinguished career with the Foreign Office.

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Mr Jenkins was a great orator and he enjoyed a long and active retirement in the village.

He was chairman of Ferring Ratepayers and Owners Association for many years and, together with representatives from sporting clubs and Ferring Parish Council, saw Ferring Sports and Leisure Association formed and Ferring Carpet Bowls Club emerge.

Mr and Mrs Jenkins, who had four daughters, Nicola, Caroline, Nina and Alison, were both volunteer drivers for Friends of Ferring.

Mr Jenkins’ pride and joy was his lawn tennis court and he and his wife held weekly tennis parties over many summers, when villagers were invited for an afternoon of tennis and tea.

The tennis court was of such a high standard that two junior players practised there before going on to win the boys’ championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Although his wife died suddenly in April, 2004, at the age of 80, Mr Jenkins continued with the tennis parties.

He was also a craftsman and made many of the props for Jean Butterworth School of Dancing in Tarring, where daughter Caroline is principal.

Many of the school’s parties were held in the family garden in Ferring, where the swimming pool was a great attraction for the young dancers. The garden was also included in Ferring Open Gardens and used for charity events.

With his wife’s help, Mr Jenkins published his autobiography, So Much To Do So Little Time, to coincide with his 80th birthday.

He also compiled a family tree, which included hundreds of photographs of family members.

Mr Jenkins left the village in July last year and moved to Oxford. In failing health and four months short of his 95th birthday, he decided the time had come to live with one of his daughters. He died there last week.

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