Tribute 14/2/22 - Charlotte

Created by Larry one year ago
I want to begin by saying how incredibly privileged I feel to stand here, to honour one of the most remarkable men to have walked into my life and to call Len a friend, one who I and so many others held in the highest regard.  I am so grateful to have had the pleasure of his company, for the memories we shared together, for the times we laughed together and for the unwaning loyalty of his friendship.   
The first time I met Len was during an interview which I had been asked to sit in on at the last minute.  I even got his name wrong and introduced him to the entire office as something that was not Len.  He did not correct me, just smiled, and went along with it.  The interview was the day after his second-year summer ball and I remember acknowledging that I was impressed with his commitment for turning up to an interview with, what I knew only too well, would have been one hell of a hangover (which he later confirmed).  He got the job. 
The second time I met Len was when he came to inspect my spare room which I had said he could have for a maximum of 8 weeks whilst he found somewhere else.  He brought Lynda with him to check it was up to standard.  Len exceeded his 8-week term and continued to reside at Mercers Lane for the following 10 months.  I think it is safe to say, he grew on me.  
I came home late from work one evening, opened to the front door to look up and find the kitchen door being shut firmly in haste.  Naturally, this arose my suspicions.  I got changed out of my works clothes and wandered down to the kitchen which, from the outside sounded like a hive of activity.  It did not sound like the usual unwrapping of a McDonalds or opening of the oven door and sliding in of a pizza, it sounded like cooking was full steam ahead. Intriguing. I opened the door to what can only be described as absolute bedlam.  I cannot emphasise enough that there was flour everywhere, I mean everywhere.  Pots and pans littered the kitchen, somehow all were in or had been used.  He was making beef stroganoff.  A short while after, we were sat at the kitchen table, amongst this chaos, eating the very edible beef stroganoff when he announced with conviction that he was going to bake a cake for the office the following day.  I think the look on my face said it all.  We bought a nice cake instead, save the kitchen I thought.  
For the duration of his stay, I do not think a day went by where he did not either talk to Lynda and Andrew or at least talk about them, telling me what they had been up to and what he was doing with them.  He would travel home most weekends because, as much as I loved him being around, home is certainly where is heart was and I know during the first lockdown, he missed it dearly.  His relationship with his family and love he had for them – helping to set up Lynda’s upholstery business and helping her to navigate various social media platforms (this generated great amusement), telling me how well Andy’s sheep scanning business was going, helping with innovative ideas on the farm and navigating rural affairs – was uncompromising.  
Alongside this, he gave me song and verse about his joint Land Rover renovation project with Chris, who I always considered to be a brother to Len.  I used to hear about their adventures, where they went out for dinner, what he and Emily had been up to in Len’s absence.  Len did not miss a trick.  Chris and Emily, I feel like I knew you before I met you. 
Len’s priorities were set.  His family and his friends came first and foremost – something which we must all remind ourselves of in an increasingly noisy and hectic world.  
I have honestly not enjoyed or gained so much from one person and can, hand on my heart say that he is the most wonderful man to have ever walked into my life.  He enriched and warmed it, like he did with any space or situation he walked in to.  He taught me how to be patient, that life was for living in the fullest sense, to laugh at my life’s dramas and not to take them to seriously, to have confidence with my words and opinions; to speak up and openly, that friendships are one of the most valuable relationships one can have and that they should be held tightly and nurtured.  He reaffirmed to me that people are, by large, kind, and full of love, just like he was kind and full of love.  
I am so proud of who he was, the energy and warmth he emitted into every situation and space he occupied, the incredible friendships he forged and followed with such loyalty and generosity, the unbiased kindness he met everyone with, with open arms and an open heart.  
Leonard, you are and were a gentleman, an absolute delight and I am so sorry that you were not able to experience more good times because on the whole, life is good and I regret that there will be no more adventures in this world but have no doubt you will be living the good life up there.  We must remember that in the time he was materially here, he made such a profound and positive impact on the lives of so many and we can have confidence that this will continue to live on through memories and in his memory.