Tributes paid to village character Leebo who will be missed by many - but not perhaps some marauding football fans!

Family pic of man who died

Lee Corbett - Credit: Submitted

Torquay's Hele  Village has lost another of its characters with the death of Lee 'Leebo' Corbett.

Lee was was born in Torquay. His dad,  Preston, was in the American Navy as a shipwright and met Sylvia Skinner and married her here.

Father and son family pic

A very young Lee with dad Preston - Credit: Submitted

Preston was away serving and Lee and mum Sylvie were back in Torquay. The family decided to move briefly to America but after just just six months, with the money to live on so small, they returned to Torquay.

Sylvie was bitten by a black widow spider during her time in the States and sadly died about 18 months later.

Lee lived with his nan  and grandad, well-known Ben Skinner, in Alpha Cottage in Stentifords Hill.

He went to Audley Park school and joined the army in the 2 paras 9th Royal Engineers for national service.

Old army pic of man who died

Lee during his National Service days - Credit: Submitted

He served his time as a carpenter and joiner and worked with his dad Preston on many sites together.

Most Read

He married Melanie and lived in 126 Hele Rd for many years where sons Darren and Dean and daughter Leah were born.

Dean says: "Dad liked a beer or two on occasion and many characters of the time were joined in the old Royal Standard pub for a pint. He was also a member of the RAOB club."

Dean recollects one occasion when Wolverhampton football fans picked on the wrong people at the wrong pub and at the wrong time as they decided to invade the Standard after causing trouble at Torquay United's Plainmoor ground.

"They came looking for trouble and found it in the Standard," says Dean. "It was rumoured that the locals had some 'fun' that day and not many panes of glass remained in the windows of the pub because that was the only way out for the naughty Wolves fans. Needless to say they never popped back!"

He added: "Many characters lived in the village then and everyone looked after everyone else including Dad who paid someone's mortgage when they were skint one time to help them out."

Lee was a very skilled man who specialised in cut roofs in the construction industry. He was always in demand for his skills and top workmanship.

Dean says: "Dad probably picked up some dust in his lungs during his works with asbestos and other materials and in his last 10 years or so he developed fibrosis which he lived and braved with. He suffered a heart attack and a stroke but through his determination and strength survived them and even managed to carry on occasionally working.

"His passion was pigeon racing and was a member of Torquay Flying Club which used to be based at Barton Cricket Club in Cricketfield Road, winning many races."

Lee came from the Skinners fishing family but Dean said he never really liked fishing.

"Now myself and my son, Latimer, and my brother, Darren, and his son, James, work our commercial fishing boats from Torquay and dad was proud of that feeling we had returned to our roots within the harbour," said Dean.

"Many a day I felt the presence of my great grandad Ben and will hopefully have that feeling with dad now.

"Dad had a photo of Ben and Len Martin mending their nets on North Quay and was very fond of that. Dad was also a keeper of ferrets and went hunting rabbits for the table. 

"There are also fond memories of us collecting seagulls eggs to eat every year from the rocks like they did during the war to eat scrambled or used to bake with."

Dean says there was never a dull moment spent with his dad and many many friends who will all miss him.

Dean says: "He was a proud man. Me, my brother and sister and all his family will miss him. He is at peace and with his mum and dad and Mel. God bless Leebo."