Leslie Snelling: Chief clerk at Norwich cattle market

For farmers selling fat cattle at Norwich livestock market, Leslie Snelling, who has died aged 75, was the man signing the cheques.

As chief clerk for auctioneers Irelands, which ran the country's biggest market in the 1950s and 1960s, he kept the books for the Norwich firm in Castle Meadow, then in Upper King Street.

After every Saturday market, he had to balance the books, pay farmers for stock and calculate buyers' bills.

Les Snelling, who was born at Lakenham, went to St Mark's School and the City of Norwich School. He joined the firm aged 16 as a junior clerk, where his duties included running to the tea stall opposite Norwich Shirehall to buy sandwiches for the crowd of buyers around the cattle ring on The Hill.

He worked for a bank in Norwich for six months before doing his two years' National Service in the Army. He rejoined Irelands as Norwich Corporation was preparing to move the livestock market from the heart of the city to a purpose-built centre at Harford Bridge.

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He was appointed chief clerk in 1960, where his duties included keeping the firm's accounts as well as assisting and clerking at auction sales. 'His work was always meticulous and he was always liked,' said Michael Gamble, auctioneer and senior partner of the firm.

Mr Snelling was also treasurer of Chapelfield Road Methodist Church for almost 40 years and treasurer of the Norwich circuit.

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Married for more than 50 years, they celebrated their golden wedding last September. He leaves a widow, Margaret, daughter Julie and son Kevin, and two grandsons.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at Chapelfield Road Methodist Church on Friday, June 3 at 1.45pm.

Michael Pollitt

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