Dr Leslie Mustoe: Tributes to distinguished Hitchin academic

PUBLISHED: 12:49 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 10 January 2018

Dr Leslie Mustoe, who has died at the age of 76. Picture: Loughborough University

Dr Leslie Mustoe, who has died at the age of 76. Picture: Loughborough University


Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a respected mathematician and prominent Hitchin figure ahead of his funeral on Thursday.

Dr Leslie Mustoe, of Symonds Road, died on December 19, days after going into hospital.

A committed and popular professional academic, Leslie lectured on mathematics at Loughborough University from 1969 to 2009 and was an honorary secretary for the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

He was Hitchin Forum’s vice-chairman from 2009 to 2013, as well as a member of the Hitchin Society’s executive committee and a dedicated secretary of Hitchin Historical Society.

Historical society chairman Terry Knight said: “Leslie was always smartly dressed, extremely polite, very efficient and an excellent raconteur, frequently witty and always good company. I, in common with so many other people, will miss him greatly.”

Prof Fred Maillardet, former chairman of the Engineering Professors’ Council, summed up Leslie as “a true gentleman”.

Leslie, born in Hitchin in 1941, attended St Saviour’s School and Hitchin Boys’ Grammar School before earning degrees from the universities of Birmingham and Essex. He never married.

He returned to Hitchin on his retirement in 2009, and taught voluntarily at Hitchin Boys’ School in a part-time capacity. He also held various voluntary positions at St Mary’s Church.

Canon Michael Roden, vicar at St Mary’s, said: “With his love of this church and the people of this town and his way of putting other people first, Leslie was an encouraging presence to so many. I have been struck by how so many have got in touch to say how they have lost a close friend.

“His old Hitchin Boys’ School tie was never worn as a status symbol but rather was there to symbolise his love and profound gratitude for a school that gave him a wonderful education. He was thankful for Hitchin, and we are deeply thankful to have known him and will miss him.”

Leslie, who co-authored a series of textbooks, was a mathematics advisor to the OCR exam board, and contributed to the creation at Loughborough of one of the UK’s first science and engineering foundation programmes.

He was also active in SEFI, the European Society for Engineering Education, whose maths working group he chaired from 1998 to 2004. In 2007 he received the SEFI Fellowship Award, recognising service to engineering education in Europe.

In 2004, Leslie received the Loughborough University Medal after being nominated by his students, one of whom wrote: “Never have we known any educator go so far to help and educate. Les Mustoe is a man truly dedicated to his students and to mathematics. He is a man never too busy to help.”

Leslie’s funeral will be held at 12.30pm on Thursday at St Mary’s Church in Hitchin. Family flowers only please.

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