Len Bulley, three-time Mayor of Marlborough, loving husband to wife Carol, father of three boys and “Grandpa” to four grandchildren, passed away peacefully at the age of 81 on Sunday 10 May, at his home in Swindon following a short but brave battle with cancer.
Born in Guy’s Hospital, Southwark, South East London, just before the outbreak of World War II, Len was extremely proud of the fact that being born within the sound of Bow Bells, he was first and foremost just a ‘Cockney Lad’ from London.
Len grew up in Wimbledon before embarking on a 35-year career in Local Government, initially for Wimbledon Borough Council in his native London before moving to this area in 1967 to take up the role of Deputy Clerk at the Marlborough & Ramsbury Rural District Council. In 1975 Len was appointed Housing Officer at Salisbury District Council, which saw him commute a daily round trip of over 60 miles for the next 15 years before taking early retirement in 1990.
Len’s legacy is in Marlborough. Elected Mayor of Marlborough in 1984, 1988 and again 1998 (the only Marlborough town councillor since the local government reorganisation in 1974 to serve as mayor three times), an Independent Town Councillor for 20 years, Len’s inventive mind and determination to make Marlborough a better place in which to live, combined with his experience as a long serving local government officer gave him the knowledge of how to seek and effect improvements in the town.
One major improvement to the town for which he will be best remembered was his very active role in the creation of the Marlborough Leisure Centre. Having three growing sons he was only too aware of the lack of public sporting facilities in Marlborough but, in his typical style, he set out to do something about it.
He helped secure the agreement with Marlborough College to make land available for the Leisure Centre with its indoor pool and remained committed to the project from inception to realisation as chairman of its steering committee for over eight years until its opening in 1992
Carol, his wife commented: “Having three growing sons with loads of friends Len was well aware of the absence of indoor sporting facilities in the town.”
Len was also instrumental in building Marlborough’s links with the Royal Navy culminating in the launch of the frigate HMS Marlborough, which entered service in 1991 and spent much of her 14 active years with the Royal Navy in the Middle East. With fellow Councillor Cliff Green, another former Mayor of the town, he attended the laying of the keel of the warship at the Tyneside shipyards. He was also present, as Mayor (in his second term) when HMS Marlborough was launched in 1989.
In addition to his civic roles Len was President of the Marlborough and District Lions Club and Chairman of the Marlborough Mencap Association, helping to raise thousands of pounds for good causes and local charities.
Len will be greatly missed by all who knew him, especially for his sharp wit and repartee, but also for the copious amounts of love, support and guidance he continued to give to his immediate and extended family throughout his life.
Len’s wife, Carol told Marlborough.news: “My husband had a profound love for Marlborough and although he died at our home in Swindon he will be coming back to Marlborough.”
She explained that following cremation at the new North Wiltshire Crematorium at Royal Wootton Bassett the former mayor’s ashes will be returned to be spread on the grave of his parents in the Frees Avenue cemetery in Marlborough.