TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart of the North Berwick community following his death earlier this month.

Len Groom died at Edington Hospital in his home town on Friday, October 13 – eight days shy of his 90th birthday.

His funeral took place at Binning Wood last Thursday. In their eulogy, Mr Groom’s three daughters, Gillian, Nicky and Kay, paid tribute to their dad.

They said: “He has been the still, calm, constant centre of the family always.

“He has never interfered or criticised but always encouraged and supported us.

“He was always kind, fair and courteous, quietly spoken and knowledgeable.

“He’s always been an avid reader and his other great love has been walking in woods or by the sea, where he would sit in perfect stillness and observe the natural world around him.

“He has been a guide and support to us through good times and bad and has always made his unconditional love and support and quiet pride in us clear.

“He is like our lighthouse, a constant guide and point of reference to steer our course by.”

Mr Groom was born on October 21, 1928, and was schooled in North Berwick before he joined the Airforce Military Police as an 18-year-old.

He served for four years before returning home and qualifying from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in history.

Mr Groom went on to qualify as a teacher and taught at the Red School in Prestonpans before moving to Musselburgh Grammar School, where he remained until his retirement in 1988.

As he started his teaching career, Mr Groom met Monica McLean at The Pavilion in North Berwick. They married in 1953 and the couple set up home on North Berwick’s Forth Street.

While he taught at Musselburgh Grammar School, Mr Groom was involved with the Coastguard and was a special police constable, both roles he held for more than 20 years.

For these, he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

After retiring from teaching, Mr Groom was appointed honorary secretary of North Berwick lifeboats, while taking up hospital radio at the age of 70 – working on that project for a decade.

More recently, he helped out at the British Heart Foundation shop in North Berwick and was involved with Beach Wheelchairs when it launched in 2015.

Robin Black, chairman of Beach Wheelchairs, said: “I first got to know Len about two years ago when we both were on the board of Beach Wheelchairs so I haven’t known him long.

“I wish I had known him for much longer.

“I have never met a nicer, kinder or more considerate man.”

Mr Groom is survived by his three daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.