Tribute to talented Kirky sportsman

Kenneth Frederick Selbie
Kenneth Frederick Selbie

A talented sportsman from Kirkintilloch who was selected to play tennis at the junior championships at Wimbledon as a teenager, passed away recently at the age of 70.

Much loved and respected Kenneth Frederick Selbie, originally from Perth, was born on May 1, 1947.

His family moved several times and it was at Forfar Tennis Club where Ken’s gift for the sport came to the fore.

He was also a keen footballer, playing for his school and local junior team. Invited for a trial for Queens Park Football Club, he unfortunately had to decline as it clashed with an important tennis tournament.

After gaining work as an engineer apprentice with the town council, Ken’s tennis was developing at a pace. He played at Queens’ club in London and as Scotland’s No2 (under 18s) he was officially invited to play at the Wimbledon Junior Championships.

Sadly, his work got in the way and he was denied the opportunity to play.

Ken wed his childhood sweetheart Ann in 1969 and they moved to Kirkintilloch, where he worked as an engineer with the Burgh Council.

The couple joined St Columba’s Church and made friends at Lenzie Tennis Club.

Ken’s interest in golf began when he met up with work colleagues for a game. He joined Kirkintilloch Golf Club and his love of the game blossomed.

In 1974, son Kevin was born and the family moved soon after to Westermains Avenue. They joined St David’s Church where Ken served as a deacon for many years. Second child Craig was born in 1977.

As well as competing, tennis coaching became a real love and Ken passed on his skills to many clubs in the area and further afield. He became an LTA registered Professional Tennis Coach, one of only four in Scotland at that time.

In 1979 the family secured a plot of land at Market Road and their house at Crossdykes was built. Life was happy with memorable social events at Duntiblae Residents Association where Ken’s joke telling was legendary.

Then, out of the blue, Ken had a heart attack at the age of 44. He very reluctantly gave up tennis. Instead, he concentrated on his golf, frequently getting his handicap down to single figures playing in the Thomson McCrone League.

Ken retired at 50 and worked for a while as a book sales rep until his eyesight began to deteriorate. He was very proud of his two boys, encouraged them in all they did and enjoyed nothing better than a game of golf with them.

He was delighted when Kevin got married to Catherine and he was well to enjoy the early years of Scott and Lauren. More joy came with Craig’s wedding to Hayley.

Ken was also a founding member of the Visually Impaired Persons Forum in Kirkintilloch supporting other people with poor or no sight.

Sadly, Ken’s health deteriorated and he passed away suddenly but peacefully at home last month. He touched many people’s lives through his love of family and sport and will be sorely missed.