Obituary: Ex-public health inspector Maurice was a golfing great

Maurice Leslie
Maurice Leslie

One of Leighton Buzzard’s most respected residents who was once the town’s Public Health Inspector has died at the age of 94, just four years after he played his last game of golf, a sport at which he excelled at for more than 80 years.

Maurice Leslie was the oldest and longest serving member of Leighton Buzzard Golf Club which he joined when he moved to the town with wife Nora in 1948.

Born in 1921, he lived at Brechin, near Montrose, Angus. At the age of 11, he joined the nearby Edzell golf club, where his garage-owner father, William, was a member.

He excelled at the sport, becoming a scratch golfer, winning numerous competitions and even considered becoming a golf professional.

The outbreak of the Second World War put an end to those dreams, Maurice being posted to serve with a team secretly developing radar surveillance stations on the east coast monitoring ship movements and relaying vital information to the code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park.

He met his wife Nora while serving in Norfolk and in 1948, they moved to Leighton Buzzard where Maurice took up a senior post with the Leighton-Linslade local authority.

He worked for them for many years as Chief Public Health Inspector and in other capacities before retiring and starting a second career as an insurance and investment advisor.

He was also very active with the Leighton Round Table and other organisations raising funds for worthy causes.

Very much a family man to sons Michael and Graham and daughter Gillian, Maurice joined Leighton’s Plantation Road club in March that year, and months later won the first of more than 20 club and county trophies.

He won the club championship twice and was senior champion seven times.

He won the Wallis Cup three times, with grandson Carl Mcdougall following in his footsteps and winning it himself in 1995.

Other successes came in the Groves and Rosebery competitions, Davis Cup and foursomes events.

He won the Grovebury Golf medal in 1956 and was crowned county seniors champion in 1982, when he was also a member of Leighton’s county team championship winnning squad. He also won a significant number of inter-club events and “open” competitions at other clubs.

A quietly spoken man with a Scottish lilt as smooth as the daily nip of whisky he enjoyed, Maurice was made an honorary life member of the Leighton club 13 years ago in recognition of his help in developing and extending the Plantation Road course, encouragement to young golfers taking up the game, and his exemplary record as a player and advocate.

While he was a member of the club management committee for about five years, he contributed a great deal over a long period, though declined invitations on several occasions to become club captain.

He will be long remembered for his text-book silky-swing which he honed with daily practice sessions in his garden, his technical knowledge of the sport and his competitive spirit.

Leighton’s Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter described Maurice as “an inspiration” after playing with him in 2002.

Over the years since moving to Leighton, Maurice has lived with his family in Peartree Lane, Churchill Road, Heath Road and Poplar Close.

He died in Milton Keynes Hospital on February 17 after a short illness. He is survived by his three children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

His funeral takes place on Monday, March 7, a service at Milton Keynes Crematorium at 2pm being followed by a reception for family, friends and club colleagues at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club.