Tributes to man who gave up his life to help others

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Around 180 people attended the funeral of a Lancaster man who gave up his time to help the sick and needy people in the city.

George Leonard Smith, 69, suffered from ill health himself, after being diagnosed with Addisons Disease in his forties, but “battled on” to help others, despite his condition.

He died on April 9, and his funeral took place on April 18 at St Chad’s Church in Skerton. Len had a passion for vintage buses, and to commemorate this, a Leyland PD 2 1958 vintage bus was used to take mourners at the funeral from St Chad’s Church to Scotforth Cemetary.

Len, originally from Farnworth, near Bolton, moved to Morecambe in 1986 with his wife Josie when the couple bought the Lyn Dene hotel in Regent Road.

They had met and worked as nurses, before Len took a job as a residential social worker in a nursing home. Len was forced to retire early, due to his condition, which affects the thyroid gland and is only managed by the long-term use of steroids.

The couple then moved to Lymm Avenue, Scale Hall.

A Christian man all his life, Len was one of the founder members of the male voice choir in Bolton.

On finding there was no choir here, he set up the Lancaster and Morecambe Male Voice Choir, over 30 of whom sang some of his favourite hymns at his funeral.

After he retired Len became a member of The Gideons, who are responsible for placing Bibles in hotels.

He also became a member of the Chaplaincy Visitors team at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and visited anybody and everybody who had asked for a visit, or those who had no-one visiting them.

He used to spend a full day each week “doing his rounds” as he called it, according to his son Andy. In later years he became a pastoral assitant at St Chads where he would visit the sick and needy. Andy added: “As he got older and more infirm, he just kept going.

“He just kept battling on, often in a worse state than the people he was going to help.”

He was also a member of the Ribble Bus Preservation Group, and was an avid collector of model buses and memorabelia. Len had two sons, Andy, 44, who lives on the Isle of Skye, and Stephen, 42, who lives in Lancaster, and one grandchild, Hannah.

His brother Phillip Smith also lives in Lancaster.