It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that Len Almond has passed away. Those of you who knew Len well will know the tremendous passion and commitment he had for physical education and physical literacy and the significant contribution he gave to the profession. I have copied a reading from the presentation of his Honorary Doctorate at Loughborough University (see below) as it very effectively charts the impact that Len has had on the profession.
Len was involved in the IPLA from its inception and continued to work with members of the IPLA and the wider education community to promote physical activity for all. As it says in the last line below, Len Almond is outstanding for his inspiration, commitment, vision and the boundless energy he has invested into the promotion of high quality physical education and physical activity for health to both young and old. He was a man with a mission who had a significant impact on the physical education/activity/literacy community and will be missed by us all. Obviously our thoughts are with his family at this time. If you wish to send a message of sympathy to Len’s family then I do have an address you can write to so please contact me for this information.
“Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Honorary Graduands, Ladies and Gentlemen and Graduands…..I would like to introduce Len Almond to you. He is an exceptional individual. His achievements are great and he has had an enormous positive impact on others who have had the privilege to work with him. Len trained as a PE teacher at St. Marys, Twickenham in 1964 and went on to become a lecturer at Madeley College. He then became a senior research fellow at Loughborough College, before joining the lecturing staff at Loughborough University in 1979. During his time at the University, Len held the post of Director of Physical Education and Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health. Although Len formally retired from the University in 2003, he still plays an important role in the British Heart Foundation’s National Centre’s work here at the University, as its Foundation Director and Senior Advisor.
Over the years, Len has contributed to numerous and significant developments within undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including teacher education. For example, he introduced and designed new and exciting modules on ‘exercise and health-related behaviour’ and ‘exercise prescription and promotion’. He has supervised numerous successful PhD students, three of whom are now responsible for the teacher training programme here at Loughborough which has been judged by Ofsted to be ‘outstanding’.
He has also demonstrated a particular flair for attracting and securing significant amounts of external funding for research and development projects (to the tune of well over £1.5 million).
Len has always been ahead of time in terms of his great vision and was instrumental in setting up and managing the Health Education Council (HEC) funded project on ‘Health and Physical Education’ which was based at Loughborough and provided much needed support to teachers and health professionals, in the form of newsletters, and in-service courses, including summer schools for over 12 years. His involvement in working with the Health Education Council (later known as the Health Education Authority) and then the British Heart Foundation (BHF) ultimately led to the establishment of the BHF National Centre for Physical Activity and Health here at Loughborough. He also contributed to the establishment of the National Coalition for Active Ageing in England. These are just some examples of Len’s vision for the future becoming reality.
In addition, Len has had an enormous impact nationally on the physical education profession over many decades through his position on and work for the Physical Education Association of the UK (PEA UK) and the British Association of Advisers and Lecturers in Physical Education (BAALPE). In addition to his focus on health-related physical education, he was also involved in the development of another innovation within the subject, Teaching Games for Understanding which is an alternative approach to skill-focused games teaching. All of this led to him receiving an award from PEA UK for his long-standing services to the profession. Furthermore, Len has co-authored and edited many books and papers on physical activity, health and physical education and is a member of many strategy and cross-partnership groups.
His impact has extended well beyond the UK through his international links and significant involvement with organisations such as AIESEP (the International Association for Physical Education and Sport). Len has been invited to deliver many keynote presentations at conferences and these are always informative and, more importantly, inspirational and challenging.
Even now, Len continues to be passionate about his work and to inspire others. He has been and still is at the forefront of the push to get the nation more physically active and remains relentless in his pursuit of this goal. Collectively, his achievements, contributions and impact are to be acknowledged and applauded. In summary, Len Almond is outstanding for his inspiration, commitment, vision and the boundless energy he has invested into the promotion of high quality physical education and physical activity for health to both young and old.