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Obituary: Golfer, motor enthusiast and man of impeccable manners

Victor Lea, who has died at 70, had a passion for sport. He was president of Ballyclare Rugby Club in the town where he and his wife Emily lived; founder captain of Greenisland Golf Club and he was also into motor sport – a member of Larne Motor Club.

It was as a member of the Ulster Automobile Club that Victor was asked to test drive the De Lorean prototype car after John De Lorean opened his plant at Dunmurry in the 1970s.

"He enjoyed night driving around the back roads of Ulster," says Emily, who actually met her husband-to-be at a motor rally.

"Victor was often stopped in the hours after dark by policemen on patrol. He took great delight in in showing officers how the gullwings opened."

This man, who enjoyed his golf, also played his part in community and was involved in the revival of Ballyclare May Fair as a major event on the social calendar from 1983 to 1993 when he was chairman of the festival.

An old boy of Bangor Grammar and Belfast High, Victor emerged as a civil engineer and worked in the quarry business with the Boyd quarry people at Carnmoney and with Moore Brothers of Ballyclare.

Later in Belfast he was quality manager with IT company BSS whose auditor Ron Rivans in a tribute said: "Victor was the epitome of good manners. He always reminded us what the word gentleman really stood for. His dress and behaviour were always impeccable and his respect for colleagues, whatever their background or status, was generous at all times.

"He did things by the book, correctly and precisely and possessed that special quality that made you feel good in his presence."

He was a specialist in the gentle art of handwriting.

"All written correspondence was a joy to look upon," says Emily. "Gentle sloping letters, formed with precision and punctuated with frightening accuracy."

Victor, who was cremated at Roselawn after a funeral service conducted by the Rev Robert Bell, minister of Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, is survived by Emily, his wife of 33 years, and his daughter Suzanne, son Grahame, and granddaughter Erin.

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