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Rossendale businessman dies on holiday age 78
8:00pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
A BUSINESSMAN honoured by the Queen for his services to industry and charity has died on holiday in the Canary Islands Leslie Clegg, 78, collapsed in the street in Fuerteventura on his way to book a surprise table at a restaurant for his wife of 53 years, Anne, on her 74th birthday.
He suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital by local police and paramedics, but died an hour later.
Mr Clegg was awarded an OBE in 2001, seven months after retiring from Bacup footwear firm E Sutton and Son, where he worked for 50 years.
He started at the Newchurch Road company as a junior office clerk in 1950, and rose through the ranks to become managing director from 1976 to 1989, before serving as group chairman for 11 years.
His daughter, Sarah-Jane, 45, said his death, on March 2, was a ‘bolt from the blue’.
She said: “Family and business were his life.
“He adored the outdoors and was very passionate about the Lake District, where he had a second home. He liked to work hard and play hard, and loved travelling.
“As a father, he was all you could wish for, and was so supportive, even if he didn’t agree with what we were doing.
“He always tried to surprise mum. He had just bought her some flowers for her birthday and was sneaking back into town to book their favourite restaurant.”
Mr Clegg, of Greensnook Lane, Bacup, was educated at Northern Primary School, and won a scholarship to Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School.
He served as a Colonel at RAF Scampton for two years.
He also leaves a son, Andrew, 48, and Sarah-Jane’s partner, Nataliya, 39.
His body was flown back to the UK on Saturday, and his funeral takes place at Trinity Baptist Church, in Bankhouse Lane, from 2.30pm tomorrow.
Brian Terry, joint chairman of the Sutton Group, said: “It was with great shock, and sadness, that we learnt of the sudden death of Les as he was still an active part of the community, support-ing many local causes.
“All of the current board of directors started their service with the company under Les’s guidance and have much to thank him for.
“He was a truly resp-ected person within the footwear industry and the local community.”
Chris Hayhurst, chair-man of Bacup Cricket Club, where Mr Clegg was a vice-president, said: “He was a very nice man and will be sadly missed around the club.”