Fr. Kevin was ordained as a priest in 1941 and held many Scouting appointments – from 1940 as an Assistant Scout Master in North East Somerset to District Commissioner of Ealing District in 1958, finally taking on the task of the first Borough Commissioner for Ealing Borough in 1970. He was also the founder and GSL of the 20th Ealing (St. Benedict’s).
Dom Kevin Horsey OSB (1914-2006) an appreciation.
I first knew of Fr. Kevin when I became a Wolf Cub in 1948 and attended the 20th Ealing Group AGM with my parents. My Dad suddenly moved away from my mother and myself and then appeared on the stage, and was introduced as the Group Chairman – a post he held for just over 20 years. I looked up to Fr. Kevin from that date, a giant of a man, with a big booming voice and a great presence. My first look at someone with a crew cut hair cut. I tried to grow in stature over the years and look at him eye to eye, but failed by a few inches. As a 12 year old I went to St Benedict’s School. Fr. Kevin was my House Master, Year Master and in charge of rugby. He was also the Commandant for the army cadets where my Scout training came in handy. A ten-day trip to Germany was great fun. We all enjoyed going to well-organised Scout camps with activities on site, not like today, under the leadership of Fr. Kevin and the other leaders he gathered around him. Many were seminarians from Allen Hall, Ware, including David Konstant (later to become Bishop in Westminster and Leeds dioceses). Easter camps were shared between Allen Hall and Worth, and summer camps around the country at various Catholic establishments. Training camps were held prior to the annual District Totem Camp Competition – camping in one of the orchards in the school grounds, better known now as the junior school playground/car park.
As DC, he usually challenged the Mayor to a 1-length race in the Swimming Gala held at the old first class pool at the rear of the Town Hall. The Mayor stood no chance, given a start he always found Fr. Kevin waiting at the end, ready to help him out. Fr. Kevin encouraged all to achieve, and readily helped whenever necessary. In the late 50’s many in the Group received the Queen’s Scout Badge, and at the same time the Group moved into the Montpelier Park building still used by 1st Ealing North (formed by 20th Ealing and 26th Ealing amalgamating). At 18, I was soon encouraged to become first an ASM and then ACSL, later CSL and eventually GSL after Harold Burgess moved to the south coast. I was proud to lead such a prestigious Scout Group.
The Group hosted many White Fathers, who were to become missionaries in Africa. They came to the Group for a few months to obtain their service section and then the Wood Badge, and so the name of 20th Ealing was soon known throughout Africa. As a Leader when I went to Gilwell Park on courses or with the Cub Pack many recognised the unique scarf of blue and grey – I never saw anyone with the same colours. They would always come, check my Group flash, and ask warmly after Fr. Kevin who they held in high esteem. He became a great friend of my parents for over 30 years, and later officiated at my marriage. Fr. Kevin was an inspiration to all, and I know that my contemporaries will have great memories of their time in Scouting under his leadership. When I saw him in later years he always wanted to be brought up-to-date about Scouting and his many friends in the District and County.