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Sandy Iliffe (nee Anker), 2009
Walter James Anker
Born 15 June 1913 died 27 May 1965

Walter James Anker moved to Rushden in 1957 from Abingdon, Oxfordshire with wife Dorothy and their three children. He had been deputy borough engineer at Abingdon, and had previously held appointments at Lymington, Farnborough and Banbury.  He was a member of the Institute of Municipal Engineers .

He had been appointed Borough Engineer and Surveyor to Rushden Urban District Council in November 1957 and he held that post until his untimely death in May 1965.

He was involved in some major works and in the health of the town of Rushden including:

In charge of sewage treatment works which were where Crown Way is now. He kept samples of treated water in racks around the wall of his garage so that he could compare the purity.
Designed the semi-circular walls at Rushden Cemetery for names of those cremated to be engraved on – his name is on the first wall!
Made agreement with Ski Club for Rushden to abstract water from the lakes in cases of drought. (Water Ski championships were held at the ski club then)
Always went out with the men when the roads needed snow ploughs – wouldn’t ask a man to do something he was unwilling to do himself.
Also a keen member of St Peter's Church in Midland Road:
Involved, with his wife, in running St Peter’s Scouts.
Played organ at St Peter’s Church.

People often came to the house at the weekends, saying they had a blocked toilet, or water leak or some such thing and he would turn out and help them.

Every Christmas he was sent bottles of whiskey, turkeys and other gifts from local tradesmen, which he always returned saying that he could not compromise his position by accepting them,…… much to the dismay of his wife!!

A founder member - with three other people each putting £50 into the kitty - and helped to stage the first pantomime at the Ritz under name of Rushden Amateur Dramatic Society (later RATS). He also held the office of treasurer for a time.

January 1963 was a very severe winter. There was a gas explosion at his home where he was badly injured. Although he recovered he was badly crippled. He died in May 1965.

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