Obituary: Head caretaker with 'cheeky grin' dies days before birthday

Former head caretaker of Attleborough High School, Leslie Lawrence, aged 21

Former head caretaker of Attleborough High School, Leslie Lawrence, aged 21 - Credit: Supplied by family

A respected and long-serving head caretaker famed for his “cheeky grin” has died just days ahead of his 93rd birthday. 

Leslie Lawrence, formerly of Attleborough, worked at the town’s high school from 1970 to 1993. 

As well as a deep-rooted pride in his work, tributes following his death have told of how well thought of he was during his working life at the school. 

Born Leslie Frederick Lawrence on April 29, 1929, in Prickwillow, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, he would go on to be employed as a farmer and tractor driver after leaving education. During this time, he met his future wife, Dorothy, on the buses where she worked as a conductor. 

Former head caretaker of Attleborough High School, Leslie Lawrence, aged 10

Former head caretaker of Attleborough High School, Leslie Lawrence, aged 10 - Credit: Supplied by family

The couple tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in March, Cambridgeshire, on October 28, 1950.

Revealing the secret of their seven-decade-long marriage, Mrs Lawrence said: “Before we married, we discussed things and we both agreed that neither of us believed in divorce. So that was that.”

Together, the couple had three children; daughter Brenda in 1951, son Brian in 1953, and another daughter, Coleen, who was adopted in 1981, aged seven. 

Most Read

Brian said: “He was a very good father. Strict but fun. 

“He was an old-fashioned man with moral thoughts as well as being kind and fair. He took great pride in his family. 

“I never met anyone who had not enjoyed his company. Everyone spoke well of him. 

“He also had a very cheeky grin – really cheeky in fact.” 

Former head caretaker of Attleborough High School, Leslie Lawrence, aged 92 - showing off his "cheeky grin"

Former head caretaker of Attleborough High School, Leslie Lawrence, aged 92 - showing off his "cheeky grin" - Credit: Supplied by family

Mr and Mrs Lawrence first moved to Norfolk after Mr Lawrence took up the job of assistant caretaker at Reepham High School. He then applied for the role of head caretaker at the then-Attleborough High School and was successful. 

He also drove the school coach on a number of occasions.

His son added: “He loved that place.

“He took pride in his work; that's an understatement.”

Mrs Lawrence said: “He loved being a caretaker. Meeting with lots of staff and the children was a highlight for him. He enjoyed talking to them and teasing them.”

During retirement, the couple enjoyed “rarely exciting but always interesting” days out. They moved to Grantham, Lincolnshire. 

Mr Lawrence died at home on April 20. His funeral took place on May 20. As well as his wife and children, he leaves behind five grandchildren. A great-grandchild is expected later this year.