Keith Arthur Rawlinson: 1934-2021
Engineer who carried out a multitude of lay roles in Baptist churches, working tirelessly in all - his faith in his Lord shone through in everything he did
Keith Rawlinson was born in Walthamstow, East London, the second child to Frederick and Alice Rawlinson. He had been preceded by an older sister, Delphene. Just over a year of his birth his brother, John, was born giving a compact family unit of five people. His early life was spent in Walthamstow until the outbreak of the second world war when the family was evacuated to Suffolk as Frederick was in a reserved occupation. Sadly Keith’s sister died of a brain tumour at the age of eight, but another brother Philip joined the family.
Keith attended Clare County Primary School until the age of 11 when, after being successful in passing his eleven plus, he went to Sudbury Grammar School. His education was completed five years later when he achieved more success in getting his School Certificate where he achieved proven knowledge in eight subjects.
After leaving school Keith went to work for the G.P.O. (General Post Office, a forerunner of British Telecom - B.T.) where he undertook electrical engineering training with appropriate qualifications. It was during this employment that Keith met his wife-to-be, Kay. She was a telephonist with the G.P.O. and they both attended the Bishop's Stortford Baptist Church. Their romance blossomed but it was interrupted when Keith had to do his national service in the Royal Air Force. After his basic training he was posted to Bonn in Germany but he managed to get a few weekend passes when he would return to England to see Kay and his parents.
Following his return from national service, Keith was baptised at Clare Baptist Chapel, and two years after his demobilisation Kay and Keith got married and lived in Bishops Stortford. Not long after that he got promotion to work in the Telephone Exchange in Epping which subsequently meant a move to live in North Weald.
His interest in sporting activities was always prevalent throughout his life, and as a young man he played local football and was a good tennis player and a very strong swimmer.
Family was always important in Keith’s life and nothing pleased him more than spending time with them. Daughter Delia’s marriage to Peter Stevens produced three grandsons – sadly Delia died suddenly in 2020 – and son David had a daughter Kyer. The grandchildren – and subsequent great-grandchildren – were doted on by Keith.
Another promotion took him to Bletchley to work as a lecturer where he stayed for several years then moved on to work in Colchester. By this time the G.P.O. had been split and he worked for B.T. They moved house again to Halstead to a lovely family home, and when he took early retirement Keith and Kay moved firstly to Willingham and then Longstanton to be close to many of his family.
Keith considered entering full-time ministry which he never pursued but his faith saw him carry out a multitude of lay roles in the Baptist churches he attended as he moved due to his work commitments. He became a lay preacher and travelled around spreading his belief as well as running classes to teach others lay preaching skills. He was church secretary in several churches including at the inception of Whaddon Way Baptist Church in Bletchley and Willingham Tabernacle Baptist Church, and worked tirelessly in all the churches he attended.
Keith worked voluntarily for the Baptist Union in interviewing prospective candidates for the ministry. He was one of the founder members of the Eastern Baptist Association and secretary of the Cambridgeshire Baptist Association for many years. He became a radio personality on BBC Cambridge running a regular programme on religion.
Keith’s easy personality made him popular throughout his life and he was always extremely helpful to others. His faith in his Lord shone through in everything he did and those who crossed Keith’s path will have been influenced by both the person he was and his Christian faith. We will miss you Keith – but we are happy you are now with your Lord!