taking our culture forward

Ernie Leece was born in 1941 to Sydney and Florence Leece and spent his early years in Greeba where he remembers watching the first post war TT race and being terrified by the noise and the speed of the bikes, this didn't put him off though as a love of bikes and all things fast culminated in a 3rd place for Ernie and his race partner John Molyneux (father of the well-known sidecar racer Dave Molyneux) in the 1970 TT sidecar race.

Ernie has many memories from a full and varied life: from his first job selling newspapers on the Manx boats which involved sleeping on a bench on the boat before the trip back the next morning, to being part of a Crosby 'Skiffle Band' and sailing tin baths down river to Union Mills, to chatting to girls on the roller-coaster while on his lunch hour working at the White City fairground on Onchan Head and grabbing the bar above to pull himself out of the car whilst it was moving so they wouldn't know where he had vanished to, memories of 'Pram Racing' at Onchan Stadium, where motorbikes raced with a pram attached to the back and a person sitting in the pram to being the only person to complete a lap of the TT in a go-kart - this was a slow process with four refuelling stops which meant waiting for the car with fuel to catch up each time!

Ernie worked at Peel Engineering which is best known for the P50 car before buying a blacksmith business down on the bustling Peel quayside where after slowly persuading the suspicious fishermen that he could do his job, he worked until his retirement.

Alongside a busy working and family life, Ernie managed to fit in twenty years’ service in the Peel Fire Service and years of involvement in Peel Pantaloons and the Centenary Centre, along with running a number of fishing boats out of Peel - with even a fishing boat ghost story!

There are plenty of stories to be enjoyed here about the TT, racing, growing up in Greeba and working in the hub of a very different Peel to the one we would recognise now.


This interview was conducted by Katie Newton on 2 June 2021.


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  • Interview with Ernie Leece, 2 June 2021