Former Dorchester Royal British Legion President Les Cuff dies aged 87

TRIBUTES were paid to former President of the Royal British Legion in Dorchester, Les Cuff.

Mr Cuff, who was a respected resident of Dorchester and was the last president of the town’s Conservative club, has died aged 87.

Photo – The End of the Cuff

He was heavily involved in the community and enjoyed a conversation, sharing his sparkling sense of humor, with many knowing him as a key figure in the city’s memorial services – often taking on one of the main roles.

His partner for over 30 years, Wendy said, “He would always show up no matter how he felt.

“He will be truly missed by a lot of people. He was respected by almost everyone.”

Dorset Echo: The Cuff at a county town memorial serviceThe Cuff at a memorial service in a capital

Her funeral, which due to Covid regulations was reserved for immediate family, was held at St Mary’s Church, Edward Road, on May 13.

Mr Cuff was born in Farnham near Sixpenny Handley and, after losing both parents at an early age, was taken into the care of his grandmother for a short time before living in children’s homes in Salisbury and Weymouth , where he witnessed the build-up of troops for D-Day.

He followed his older brothers into the armed forces, but did not see frontline service, although he signed up to do so.

In his civilian life he worked on farms in and around the county and, in retirement, pursued his passion for tractors and steam engines, undertaking a series of restoration projects.

“I used to say that other people had flowers in their backyard – but we had tractors and tractor parts,” Wendy said.

He was secretary of the West Dorset Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Club and for over a decade had helped, along with Wendy, organize annual shows in West Bay and other gatherings.

Mr Cuff, like others of his day, left school at the age of 14 and, after a brief stint in a stationery shop, enlisted as an apprentice with Jack Jolliffe in Weymouth as a painter and decorator where he worked. stayed until his summons came up when he was. put in the medical profession due to his experience with St John Ambulance in the town of South Dorset.

Dorset Echo: Les with then Mayor Susie Hosford in remembrance 2017Les with then-mayor Susie Hosford at the service of remembrance 2017

In a previous interview, Les said: “I was eventually assigned to Tidworth Military Hospital, but I couldn’t continue working in the wards. Then one day they called in volunteers to be parachute nurses. I couldn’t say thank you. “Pretty fast. I wanted to see some action as well.”

But the closest he got to military action was called for the Suez Crisis, although even that didn’t go as planned.

He said: “We were all loaded onto the plane with the engines running all ready to go when the pilot got the call saying it was interrupted. My friends all went overseas but I didn’t. never left the country, ”he said.

Mr Cuff was working at Lower Skippet Farm near Dorchester when he first became involved with the Royal British Legion.

“We had hundreds of members and the building was nowhere near big enough, so we moved to Fordington, but it eventually happened in the early 1990s and we ended up meeting wherever we could – usually. in pub bowling alleys, ”Cuff said.

Les died at home on April 22 after a short illness. Husband of the late Lillian and partner of Wendy – father of three sons and one daughter and 14 year old grandfather or great grandfather.

Donations, if desired, to the Royal British Legion Blandford or Weldmar Hospicecare can be sent by check payable to Woods Dorchester Ltd, 11a Icen Way, Dorchester, DT1 1EW Phone 01305 250425


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