Obituary: Ballygally loses a familiar figure

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A Londonder who made Ballygally his home 28 years ago died last Monday (April 14) after a short illness.

Leonard Michael North (Len) was a familiar face in the coastal village, particularly in Ballygally Castle Hotel, where he called in every day.

Mr North was born on May 31, 1935 on the Isle of Dogs, East London. In World War II the docks were a prime target for bombing and the North family were forced to abandon their homes three times during that war.

When Leonard was about four years old he ended up having to move to the West Country, and was lost to his family for over a year. Happily, they were all reconciled and moved to Avonmouth, Bristol, where their father continued his work in the docks.

Leonard served in the Royal Corps of Signals attached to the Dragoon Guards and served in Germany in National Service from 1953 to 1955. He played football for the regiment as a left-winger.

After being demobbed, jobs were very scarce, but Leonard managed to keep himself busy until he joined NG Bailey as an electrical quantity surveyor at the UKAEA Dragon Reactor, Winfrith Heath, Dorset. Thereafter, he worked as a quantity surveyor on Kingsnorth and Tilbury power stations. In 1969 he joined Gardiner & Theobald, chartered quantity surveyors, and led the construction of Oldbury and Hinkley Point B power stations.

As an executive quantity surveyor for Gleeds, chartered quantity surveyors, he headed up his team at the Peterhead power station, Aberdeenshire and later at Windscale Nuclear Power Station, THORP project.

He came to Northern Ireland with his wife, Susanne, in 1986 to assist in the change-over from coal to oil/gas of Kilroot Power Station, where he was in financial control of the electrical contract.

Both Leonard and his wife fell in love with Ballygally and retired there and the 28 years they have lived there have been very contented ones.

During his retirement years Leonard learned to be a gardener and enjoyed studying his daily business newspaper at Ballygally Castle Hotel every day. He was always very accommodating with advice to those young people who sought it and was an inspiration to many of them.

He also liked to pick out a winning horse from time to time. His philosophy of life was to enjoy it and be thankful for it and to do no harm.

He is survived by his widow, Susanne, whom he married in 1965.