University of Portsmouth lecturer who dedicated life to Scouts is remembered fondly

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LES Bailey, 88, will be remembered as a caring and supportive man to his family, the Scout movement and his many students during his career.

As someone passionate about the outdoors, it was fitting that he spent much of his life in the Scouts, in some form or another.

In fact, Les, who was born and bred in Portsmouth, was in the Scouts from age eight through to when he died earlier this month.

Les joined the Scouts as a cub before progressing to a senior Scout, Scout leader and group leader. He then went on to become a district commissioner, member and chair of the district scout executive committee.

Les volunteered as an active member of working parties and was on the committee of the Solent Scout Training Centre.

In his role as district commissioner Leslie visited virtually every scout and cub camp from all the district groups, helped run camps, competitions, events and fetes. He was also active in the maintenance of the Kingston District Campsite.

Leslie’s passion, experience and determination to help others saw him looked upon as an inspiration in the scouts. His commitment saw him awarded the Silver Wolf for services of the most exceptional character.  

Les met his first wife Pat at Portsmouth Municipal College where he got a degree in physics. They were married for over 49 years but unfortunately Pat died before they made it to 50 years.

As well as his outdoor life, Les was always a keen gardener and acquired an allotment which not only provided fruit and vegetables but was also where, after Pat's death, he met his second wife Rose with whom he spent over 18 years.

An academic, Les was a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. His career began after National Service where he worked at the Royal Naval Dockyard colleges teaching dockyard apprentices.

Les was at Portsmouth Dockyard college from 1955 until it closed. He then moved to Highbury Technical College teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He retired from Highbury before teaching foundation courses at the University of Portsmouth.

While working at Highbury College he became involved in the Duke Of Edinburgh (DoE) scheme where he helped to train students for the expedition section of the award. He took many groups of students to Joes Lodge at Talgarth in South Wales for practice.

Les mountaineering exploits saw him walk the Pennine Way several times, the South Downs Way, Offas Dyke Path, South West Coast Path and Yorkshire Coast path. He was a member of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire club, the Alpine Club and the University of London Graduate Mountaineering Club where he also served on the club committee. He earned the Mountain Leadership certificate to support the contribution he made to training the DoE expedition candidates.

Les also served on the board of governors for both City Boys School and Mayfield School. He was chair of the governors at Mayfield, taking an active role in supporting the school well past his 80th birthday, giving up mainly because he could no longer hear well enough to effectively contribute.

Les is survived by his wife, three children, four grandchildren and three great granddaughters.

Les’ funeral will take place next week on Wednesday May 29 at The Oaks Havant Crematorium at 3.15pm. All are welcome. No flowers. Donations to Solent Scouts Training Centre.