Tributes for well-known Scarva man

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Scarva man who was laid to rest yesterday (Monday).

Mourners gathered to remember Leslie Baird who, having died aged 87, was said to have lived a full and decent life with his family in Scarva.

The father-of-eight was a grandfather to 21 and great-grandfather to 30 at the time of his death. Speaking ahead of his funeral service in St Matthew’s Church of Ireland in Scarva, Reverend Peter Thornbury said Leslie, whose full name was William Leslie Baird, was a good and decent man.

“He was very well-known and respected in the area and his family are very well thought of here,” said Rev Thornbury. “Leslie was very involved in the church having been sexton here for 30 years.

“He had a very loving and loyal family and he will be sadly missed.”

Leslie suffered some tragedy in his life, losing his first child with his wife Anna when the baby was aged just 13 months. In later years their son Alan was killed by terrorists and two years ago another son Walter died.

Leslie’s wife Anna (nee Craig) also passed away some years ago. Leslie is survived by his daughters Pauline, Barbara and Christine and sons Noel and Wesley.

A keen musician, Leslie also played the mandolin and was a member of a local pipe band and also played in Geordie Wilson’s Dance band. He worked in various capacities over the years including as a digger driver and a groundsman. He was also a keen gardener.

Reverned Thornbury paid tribute to Leslie’s support of the local community. “He was a great supporter of the church here, offering 30 years service to us as sexton,” he said.

“He had a great sense of the local area and its history. He was a very decent man and one of the highest integrity.”

Leslie was buried in the grounds of St Matthew’s Parish Church following his funeral yesterday afternoon.