Former BPCA director, Charles Keeble, dies

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It is with deep regret we have to announce today (7 October) the death of Charles Keeble.

Over the last few years Charles had become increasingly frail, with his health progressively failing for the last few months. After spells in hospital, Charles died peaceful in a nursing home near to his home in Tadworth, Surrey.

Charles Keeble was director of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) for 20 years – retiring at the age of 65 in 1988 – the time when BPCA moved offices from London to Derby. However, Charles was also instrumental in the launch of the Confederation of European Pest Control Associations (CEPA) in London in 1974, consisting at the time of a mere five national associations. His linguistic abilities assisted greatly in this task – Charles was fluent in German and French. He became this association’s director general – a post he was persuaded to continue with until the age of 70 in 1993.

On 27 March 2001 Charles was extremely proud to go to Buckingham Palace to be appointed an MBE by the Queen for services to the pest control industry. Commenting on the event at the time Charles said: “The investiture by The Queen was undoubtedly the highlight of my career and the greatest day in all my working life – one which I will never forget as long as I live.”

For very many years Charles had a very close involvement with training – in 1980 he was instrumental in the introduction of the highly successful BPCA Training & Certification Scheme for pest control and fumigation operators – the forerunner of the current BPCA training operations. To this day, BPCA presents an award in honour of Charles – the Charles Keeble award – to the candidate who obtains the best result in the BPCA Accredited Technicians in Pest Control examination.


Ecolab logoA very proud moment – Charles receiving his MBE from The Queen in March 2001

Charles was born on 3 June 1923 in Vienna, Austria. When a young boy his parents moved back to the UK. On a personal level Charles was a true English gentleman. Anyone involved in the industry at this time will remember with fond memories the committee meetings held at the National Liberal Club – not to mention Charles’ enthusiasm for the annual meeting with the Permanent Secretary from the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the Inn on the Park hotel where unlimited seafood (including lobster!) was part of the buffet menu. He could frequently be seen dictating the text of some memo into his little Dictaphone machine – always keen to further the role and position of BPCA within not only the industry, but also the wider world.

Our sympathies go to his wife, Diana, and all family and friends.

Charles’ funeral will be on 21 October at 13.00 at Randalls Park Crematorium in Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 0AG. Family flowers only. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Society.

BPCA Annual Dinner
The BPCA Annual Dinner held on 8 December 1982 at the Park Lane Hotel, London.
Left to right: Charles Keeble (BPCA Director), Sir Emrys Jones, Frances McKim (President), Sir Henry Plumb (Guest speaker – then leader of the Democratic Group in the European Parliament), Peter Bateman
(Vice-President) and Jonathan Peck (Treasurer)

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