TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘selfless community servant’ who would go out of his way to help others.
More than 100 people packed Holy Trinity Church, in West Street in Fareham yesterday to pay their respects to Leslie Ballard, who died on May 5 aged 73.
Known as Les, the dedicated volunteer was involved in many community groups, such as Fareham Stroke Club, Fareham Lions Club and Community Action Fareham.
He was a former police officer, joining Portsmouth City Police at 17, and went on to have a long career serving in numerous roles including being a motorcyclist, car traffic officer, dog handler, training officer and he was a Sergeant when he retired.
Les, from Fareham, was awarded several commendations for his service, most notably from the Royal Life Saving Society for attempting to save the lives of two boys in Portsmouth Harbour mudflats.
His sons Mark, 50, and Darren, 47, gave emotional tributes to their beloved dad at the service.
Duty, decency, reliability, honour, dignity and respect – these were all qualities he held in the highest esteem and that he practised daily.Mark Ballard, son of the late Les Ballard
Mark, from Fareham, said: ‘Duty, decency, reliability, honour, dignity and respect – these were all qualities he held in the highest esteem and that he practised daily.’
Darren, from Maidenhead, said: ‘Nothing was too much trouble for him. He gave a lot of time to a lot of people. Me and my brother are proud to have had the privilege to be his sons.’
Among the mourners were representatives from many parts of the Fareham community.
Charles Ryves, from Fareham, knew Les when Les worked as an invigilator at Fareham College in the early 90s. He also knew him through Les’s links to the Catisfield Gardening Club.
Charles, 77, said: ‘He was a nice chap to know. He was trustworthy and he was a keen gardener. He was a very interesting man.’
Dee Orme, from Fareham Sailing Club, where Les was a trustee, said: ‘He was very much respected. His opinions were always colourful and his guidance will be greatly missed.’
David Ashton, secretary of Fareham Freemason’s Bishopswood Lodge, where Les was a charity steward and member, said: ‘He would do anything for anybody. If everybody in the world was like Les, then the world would be a much nicer place.’
The Reverend Sally Davenport led yesterday’s service at Holy Trinity, where Les was a member of the congregation.
She said: ‘Les was a cheerful, abundant giver of himself. If he could help, he would. He didn’t need to be asked. He was a keen observer of the world around him and he recognised when people were in difficulty and reached out to them.’
Following Les’s retirement from the police, he worked in the marine trade until the day he died. He was also a training officer for Fareham Chamber of Commerce in its the YTS scheme.
Les was a governor of Heathfield School in Fareham and a swimming instructor for disabled charity FADSAD.
Last year Fareham Borough Council gave him the Citizen of Honour accolade in honour of his activities.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in late February and died at Queen Alexandra Hospital, leaving wife Susan, his two sons and four grandchildren.
A private cremation at Portchester Crematorium followed yesterday’s service and his ashes will be committed to the Solent off Spithead in September.