Stuart Leigh was a builder working on the Medical Centre development on Rosamund Street who was attracted to Hayley Cropper when he called into Roy’s Rolls for his refreshments. Hayley had no intention being unfaithful to husband Roy but nevertheless found the unexpected attention delightful and flirted back with the somewhat coarse builder although she was coy and evasive when he asked her out for a drink and asked her where she lived. Stuart took the opportunity to pop into the café at every available opportunity and was unfazed when he learnt that Hayley was Roy’s wife, merely informing the husband that he had, “a cracker there.” Roy was upset at the competition but assistant Toyah Battersby calmed his nerves, telling him that that was the way most builders behaved and that any woman would be flattered by the attention.

Events reached their inevitable conclusion though when Les Battersby heard of Stuart’s infatuation and informed him that Hayley was a post-operative transsexual or, as he preferred to phrase it, “You must be blind mate, if you can't tell the difference between a real woman and a bloke in a frock!'” Stuart marched straight into the café and aggressively told Roy and Hayley that they were a pair of freaks. Things were on the point of turning nasty when Jim McDonald stepped in, threatened Stuart back and threw him out.

Stuart had another chance to demonstrate the gentler side of his nature a few months later when Pat Hegherty employed his nephew Sam Kingston on the building site. Pat gave Sam the job of taking the lad’s stake on a horse to Skinner's Bookies but Sam made the error of listening to Jack Duckworth’s advice that “Chunky Monkey” had no chance and didn’t place the bet. When the horse came in first and Sam didn’t have the £240 winnings, Stuart went for Sam and had to be held back. Pat told his nephew to pay his workmates what they were owed as fast as he could.

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