Tribute to Mr Leach

by Bernard Brain in Local paper

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The following tribute has been paid by Mr Bernard Braine, Conservative Member of Parliament for South East Essex.

“Fred Leach was a remarkable man in every way. I knew him for 20 years and he was one of the toughest and most outspoken men I have ever met. It is some time now since he took an active part in the Island’s affairs but I remember him particularly as Chairman of the Council in the year when the flood disaster hit Canvey and here he did not spare himself in the difficult period of rehabilitation which followed. Fred was a “doer” rather than a talker, a practical man who expressed his views bluntly but he did a great deal of good behind the scenes as many older residents will know.

He was the moving spirit behind the building of the War Memorial Hall, and I recall vividly the opening ceremony on January 31, 1953, at which I was present, a few hours before the floodwaters swept over part of the Island.

When I first came to Canvey Fred Leach was chairman of the Conservative Association on the Island which he ruled with a rod of iron. He was sometimes difficult to get on with but then he was a man of strong convictions and he believed that is was the job of a leader to lead. Yet I always found that once you could persuade him that a particular course was right he would give his firm and loyal support. He was, in short, a man of great integrity and of solid worth and the Island has lost someone who in his day served it well.”

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