Family and friends mourn Melton 101-year-old

Family members and his many friends at Gretton Court are mourning Leslie Posnett, who has passed away aged 101.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:40 pm
Leslie Posnett, pictured showing off the card he received from The Queen to mark his 100th birthday EMN-210706-174020001

Les, as he was known to most people, moved into the Melton extra care housing complex shortly after losing his wife of 70 years, Peggy.

And his family say that being able to socialise with others and take part in social events there helped him enjoy his later years.

We reported how proud he was to receive a card from The Queen to mark his 100th birthday in December 2019 and how he spent many hours during the coronavirus lockdown painting watercolour pictures depicting past holidays for a special time capsule project.

Leslie P:osnett pictured in 1941 when he served in the Second World War with the Royal Engineers EMN-210706-174032001

His daughter, Jacqueline (56), told the Melton Times: “It was the best decision we could have made for dad to move into Gretton Court very soon after my mum died.

“It just gave him a completely new lease of life.

“When they were able to do things, he was very active there, he took part in most of the activities and really enjoyed life there.”

Les grew up in Frisby after being born a year after the Great War, on December 27, 1919.

Leslie Posnett (100) with one of the paintings he submitted for a virtual lockdown time capsule EMN-210706-174042001

Dad, Fred, was a painter and decorator and worked on the maintenance team at Holwell Works while mum, Mabel, made dresses at a Leicester shop before having her family.

After starting out at the village school, Les attended the Modern Boys’ School in Melton, travelling there and back on steam trains every day.

When the Second World War began, Les volunteered to join the Royal Engineers shortly before his 20th birthday, working initially on airfield construction work in northern France and then doing vital work on runways in the south of England to help keep the RAF planes active in the Battle of Britain.

He joined up with General Montgomery’s 8th Army during the push through Africa in 1942 and also served in Sicily, mainland Italy and Germany, where he was when the conflict ended. Sadly Les’s brother, Hedley, was killed in action.

One of the paintings submitted by the late Leslie Posnett for a virtual lockdown time capsule EMN-210706-174053001

Les had met Peggy before the war when they both attended services at Melton’s Sage Cross Methodist Church - they had two daughters, Jacqueline, and Christine, who lives in Canada.

After the war, Les worked as a maintenance foreman at Pera in Melton.

Jacqueline said: “Dad was a very strong and determined man and he didn’t give up on anything easily.

“He was organised and knew what he wanted out of life.

“He mostly enjoyed having contact with people and he always loved getting phone calls and messages.”

The coronavirus lockdown was a challenge for Les but he focuses on creating more than 30 paintings for a Leicestershire County Council time capsule initiative aimed at recording local people’s experiences of being socially isolated and confined to home for much of the day.

He even taught himself how to use the internet and to operate a tablet computer, with virtual guidance from family members, so he could submit his work. The pictures are now preserved for posterity as part of a commemorative film.

Les, who also leaves two grandchildren, Brent and Eleanor, told the Melton Times after his milestone birthday in 2019: “I feel very fortunate that I was able to enjoy 70 years of marriage and that I have lived to be 100.”

Les passed away on June 1 - he was diagnosed with bowel cancer just before last Christmas but was determined to live his final months at Gretton Court, which he managed to do.

A private funeral service will held at Sage Cross Methodist Church, in Melton, on June 21, with burial at the Thorpe Road cemetery.

The family hope a memorial service will be held at a later date when Covid restrictions have eased, so daughter Christine and many others can attend.