Memories of man who came to Hartlepool for his summer holidays

Kath and Bernard Povey with the story on Yorkshireman Leonard Ambler.
Kath and Bernard Povey with the story on Yorkshireman Leonard Ambler.

Leonard Ambler - the man who visited Hartlepool for 55 years in succession - caused a lot of interest among Mail readers.

But none more so than Bernard Povey, the former businessman who was related to Leonard and often hosted his stays in town.

Leonard Ambler, left, and Bernard Povey, right, with cricketer Graham Gooch.

Leonard Ambler, left, and Bernard Povey, right, with cricketer Graham Gooch.

Thanks to Bernard, we can now share more memories of Yorkshireman Leonard who would not hear a word said against his second hometown in the North East.

Bernard, who used to own and run his own carpet firm, described the Huddersfield man as “lovely natured, a really family man.”

We first featured Leonard’s story a few days ago. We told how Leonard’s love affair with the town began in 1933 when he and his wife Marjorie first came to the town. They loved Seaton and adored the Headland.

Marjorie was related to Kath Spence who was later to become Bernard’s wife. Kath’s own mother Margaret and her husband were the first to host the Yorkshire visitors.

It was always in the summer that they came, as well as for weddings and funerals. It was all about loving to go to Seaton and essentially it was Hartlepool he fell in love with

Bernard Povey

Even after Marjorie’s death, Leonard still came north.

He was described as something of an expert on Hartlepool. He would hop on buses to visit parts of the town as well as occasional trips to other parts of the North East including Marske and Redcar.

Bernard remembered: “Essentially, though, it was Hartlepool that he fell in love with.”

One of Leonard’s great loves was cricket. He was a big Geoffrey Boycott fan, grew up following Len Hutton and got his picture taken with England star Graham Gooch on one of his visits to Hartlepool.

Bernard told us more about the man.

“He was in the clothing industry in Huddersfield and was foreman in a factory. At the time, the industry was really booming.”

Leonard had also been in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers until he was demobbed.

His love affair with Hartlepool developed and Bernard recalled: “It was always in the summer that he and Marjorie came to visit.”

In another twist to the family story, Bernard once had to travel to Leeds for the opening of a branch of a business and he said: “They lived in Huddersfield and I lodged with them for six months until I bought a house.”

In our original story, we told how Leonard remembered going to see Max Bygraves when he made his debut at the Empire Theatre in Hartlepool - at the bottom of the bill.

It was in 1988 that he made the pages of the Mail.

We are indebted to Bernard for filling in more details of his wonderful life.

If you would like to have your own Memory Lane story featured in the Mail, contact Chris Cordner by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk