Bye bye Bebop, as Len plans heavenly rebuild

Tradesmen, factory workers, building products distributors and some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in WA gathered on a patch of grass overlooking Cottesloe beach yesterday.

Yet among those celebrating the life of billionaire industrialist Len Buckeridge, the most important messages came from his eight grandchildren.

To them the man who ran a business empire covering almost every part of the building process was just Bebop - the doting and slightly eccentric figure who wore his shoes without socks.

Granddaughter Anna Buckeridge spoke of how he was worried about her walking home from university and gave her a fluoro vest with the name of his BGC business on the back and a flashing safety light.

Anna, who still has the flashing light on her backpack, tells of how Len Buckeridge decided to take his large family to Europe.

"When he wanted something done, it was done," she said.

It was fortunate that Leonard Walter Buckeridge took his family on that European vacation last year because his big heart finally gave out last Tuesday morning - after enjoying a breakfast of toast with fig jam made by a friend.

Mr Buckeridge's family held a private funeral yesterday morning before holding a public memorial at Cottesloe Civic Centre led by Liberal Party veteran Danielle Blaine.

Premier Colin Barnett was in the front row near Governor Malcolm McCusker and his wife Tonya and was flanked by ministers including new Treasurer Mike Nahan.

Former premier Richard Court, former WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, former State Labor ministers Julian Grill and Norm Marlborough, Multiplex heir Tim Roberts and Mineral Resources boss Chris Ellison were also there.

Mr McCusker, who knew Mr Buckeridge for 40 years, said Mr Buckeridge's gruff exterior hid a "very kind heart".

"Our State and our community has been made very much richer by Len's drive, his personality and his work," he said.

Mr Buckeridge's son Sam said the family had been touched by the many condolences received, including one notice in _The West Australian _ saying he could rest until heaven needed a rebuild.

"Rather than rest, Len will fidget to get back to work," Sam Buckeridge said.

The crowd was told tales of Mr Buckeridge's relentless drive and impatience, and what his son Julian Ambrose described as his dislike of "spivs, paper shovelers, arse coverers and bureaucrats".

Mr Ambrose, the son of Mr Buckeridge's second wife Tootsie, recounted how he met Len when he was 10.

In the early years they had initially "fought like cats and dogs", but they became very close.

"He was my dad and, more importantly, my best friend," Mr Ambrose said.

The West Australian

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