Graham Kent (OK 1968) died January 31, 2023

Graham Kent, who passed away at 71 due to motor neurone disease, had quite the career as a senior civil servant, specializing in tackling serious fraud. His journey began back in 1987 when he joined what’s now known as the Department for Work and Pensions as a legal adviser. He stayed there until his retirement in 2015. During his time there, he wore different hats, not just prosecuting serious fraud but also giving advice on crafting regulations related to discrimination and freedom of information. Graham was also actively involved in the First Division Association, the trade union for senior civil servants.

Born in Westminster, Graham attended King’s until 1968. He studied history and law at Magdalen College, Oxford. In college, he was active in the Labour club and became the junior common room president.

After completing his bar training and pupillage at Devereux chambers in London in 1977, he headed north to become a law lecturer at Liverpool Polytechnic (now John Moores University). Graham came back to London in 1986. The next year, he briefly worked at the Crown Prosecution Service before joining the Department of Health and Social Security (later renamed the Department of Work and Pensions), where he spent the rest of his career.

Outside the 9-to-5 grind, Graham had a colorful life. He served in the Territorial Army, chaired the Dulwich Labour Party, and even held the position of attorney general to the Order of St John, not once but twice.

While Graham might have seemed like a serious intellectual, he was surprisingly outgoing, with a subtle sense of humor. He also had a knack for appreciating whisky and wine.

Graham was known for his sharp mind, which made him a formidable debater, but he also had the integrity to admit when he was wrong. He had a deep love for Europe and his home country, which he expressed through his passion for cricket. He was a member of three county clubs and the Association of Cricket Statisticians.

His curiosity about Indian history led him on extensive travels throughout the subcontinent. In his retirement years, he became the reviews editor of the Journal of Historic Buildings and Places. His final article was a heartfelt tribute to the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, whose books had been a part of his life since his teenage years.

THE OBSERVER 19 February 2023