Leslie Silver’s golden role in the success of Leeds as a city is marked by university

Leslie Silver OBE, who was the first chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, is pictured outside Leeds Civic Hall.
Leslie Silver OBE, who was the first chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, is pictured outside Leeds Civic Hall.
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Leslie Silver OBE’s enormous contribution to Leeds has been marked by readers as well as civic and educational figures.

Aside from playing a key role in taking Leeds United Football Club from the depths of despair to English First Division glory in 1992, the 89-year-old was pivotal in the modern history of what is now Leeds Beckett University.

Mr Silver, who passed away on Monday, combined being Whites chairman with a role on the board of governors at what was Leeds Polytechnic in 1988. His work has been hailed both inside and outside of football.

Bosses at the university, which was renamed Leeds Metropolitan University in 1992 before it became Leeds Beckett in September, are mourning the loss their first chancellor. He served from 1999 to 2005.

Professor Susan Price, vice chancellor at Leeds Beckett, said: “Leslie made a lasting impact during his long standing relationship with our university and his integrity, passion and commitment were evident to all those that worked alongside him. He will be greatly missed.”

Mr Silver is so highly regarded at the university that a building in Woodhouse Lane was named after him. The library at the Leslie Silver Building is named after his late wife Sheila.

Born in London, he joined the RAF at the age of 17 in 1943 and was awarded the ‘Bomber Command Clasp’ for his service during the Second World War. On being demobbed at 22, he founded Silver Paint and Lacquer Company Limited and led it to have a turnover of £100million when he retired from business in 1991.

On Twitter Coun Mark Dobson, of Leeds City Council, described Mr Silver as “a gentleman and a great chairman of Leeds United whose vision put the club back on the map”.

Readers and Whites fans have had their say on Facebook, with Andrew Walton saying Mr Silver “lived the dream and brought us glory”.

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