MALCOLM Carter Simpson, who worked his way up from humble beginnings to run the finances of one of Yorkshire’s major cities, has died aged 83.
He joined the Leeds City Corporation on leaving school at 14, and retired as Director of Finance of what was then Leeds City Council when he was 53.
Mr Simpson was born in Hunslet, the younger son and the middle of three children of Arthur and Rhoda Simpson, and he was mainly educated at Hunslet Moor School.
His father was a master grocer in Hunslet and as a boy he would ride in an orange box on the back of his father’s horse and cart.
While still at school he had a number of jobs, including guarding the horse and cart to stop people stealing the fruit and vegetables. At 11 he was delivering newspapers morning and evening, and later got a job as a butcher’s boy which paid more money.
During the Second World War, he was evacuated to Scotten, Lincolnshire, where he lived on a farm and had happy memories of digging potatoes.
On returning he completed his education at Stanningley Council School.
He was a bright boy at school so an aunt who knew of someone who had been taken on by the then Leeds City Corporation suggested he wrote asking for a job.
He received a reply in July, 1943 saying he could start as a junior clerk and it was a letter he treasured all his life.
Apart from a break for National Service in 1947 when he served with the RAF, he stayed with the council until he retired in 1982 becoming one of very few people in local government to have spent their entire career with one authority.
He worked his way up through various departments including the rates office which was then in Park Lane, and the audit department. When he returned from National Service he decided to study for accountancy which he did through a correspondence course in the evenings after work, qualifying after three years.
Promotions then followed at regular intervals until he became Finance Director for the last three years before retirement which, unwittingly, he negotiated without initially realising it.
Not long before the then leader of the council, George Mudie later to become a Leeds MP, had asked him to work out financial packages to encourage people to leave. It was only later he realised how good they were and opted to take one himself.
While still working he had taken his knowledge of local government to the Indian city of Mumbai (then Bombay) on behalf of the World Bank, and after retirement made a similar visit to Malawi.
In retirement, he was on the board of Yorkshire Water and the South Yorkshire Residuary Body.
Mr Simpson was known as a highly principled man with a strong sense of humour.
In his youth he was a King’s Scout and a Troop Leader and played rugby. He had an interest in horse racing, enjoying a mild flutter, which began through his father-in-law of his first wife who had a betting shop.
He was also a keen golfer and a member of Leeds Golf Club for more than 40 years, an interest he shared with his second wife, and enjoyed many golfing holidays.
He was married in 1952 to his first wife Doreen, after courting for seven years, and they had two daughters. They divorced in 1980 and Mr Simpson remarried.
He is survived by his second wife Gill, daughters Lesley and Christine, and granddaughter Michelle.