It is sad to relate that one of the great characters of our town, Lenny Lowe, died on Tuesday afternoon aged 78, after a short illness, writes saintsrlfc.com
Born in Parr, he remains one of the most popular and well-respected men in St. Helens and his name will always be associated with a number of sporting organisations in our town.
Needless to say, tributes have been coming in from far and wide, led by Saints’ Chairman Eamonn McManus: “St Helens has lost one its most colourful and entertaining characters. Lenny brightened up all of our lives with his humour and his unique personality. Although he will be very sadly missed he will be very warmly remembered for the great memories which he provided to so many of us.”
Lenny attended Cowley School and undertook teacher training at Padgate College, before taking up posts at Robins Lane and, later, St Cuthberts School, where he specialised in Humanities, especially Geography. Lenny taught for 33 years before retiring in 1993, but somewhat inevitably, school sport became a huge part of his life.
He was a mover and shaker in schools’ rugby league and also football, running the Town Team for a spell. Lenny was particularly proud of the fact that he was an FA coach! Several prominent local sportsmen came under his tutelage, such as Chris Arkwright, Richie Eyres, Jason Critchley, Gary Connolly and the footballers Ray Ranson and Tommy O’Neill.
He was a superb raconteur and much of his popularity, especially when he retired, stemmed from his ability to organise and host functions which brought in many thousands of pounds for charity and charitable causes. If you heard the intro: “Ladies and Gentlemen, your MC this evening….Lenny Lowe,” you knew exactly what you were going to get and the event would invariably run smoothly with Lenny putting his own unique stamp on the proceedings. It is something he did with great expertise for more than thirty years
Lenny was, of course, a huge Saints’ fan, with numerous connections with the club over the years above and beyond the role of supporter. Ray French talks about his close friend in glowing terms: “Mention the name of Lenny Lowe and faces surrounding you would break into huge smiles, such was the impact he made on everyone. And certainly on me, as man and boy for more than 65 years! Ever since the days when, on a Saturday afternoon together, we would catch the number four bus from Parr to the Knowsley Road ground to watch the match from the ‘Boys’ Pen’ and complete the day with a bag of chips from Alf’s shop.
“He embraced all he met, welcomed them as friends, and supported them with hard work if needed. Lennie was a part of the fabric at St. Helens RFC, not only as a supporter since his schooldays but as an organiser of testimonials for its players and countless fundraisers for the club’s many projects.”
Lenny worked for the Saints in an official capacity and was a popular host of the 100 Club in the Restaurant at Knowsley Road for a decade during the early Super League years. He was also a familiar face at Saints’ Players’ Association Annual dinners and luncheons.
A player who came through the ranks at St. Helens RUFC at Moss Lane, he was a full-back and an expert goal-kicker who, rumour has it, once came to the attention of Hull KR! There was no M62 in those days and that was a factor in him not taking the professional route.
Lenny was Chairman of St. Helens when the merger with Liverpool RUFC took place in the 1980s and he remained a hard-working volunteer at Moss Lane virtually until the end. He also played midweek cricket for a spell, retiring at the age of 50.
He was a talented musician, too and was a stalwart member of the famous Parr Brass band for many years, after joining them at the age of seven. Lenny specialised in wind instruments such as the baritone, trumpet and euphonium. He could conduct and arrange music too. Such things seemed to come quite naturally to him.
Lenny’s close friends included Kel Coslett, Geoff Pimblett, Jim Mills, Bob Burkett [a teaching and band colleague] and Kenny Cross [former pupil at Robins Lane] although they are just a few of those who have held him in such high regard over the years. He was a devoted husband to Barbara for 46 years and looked after her with great care and compassion before she pre-deceased him in 2015.
There have been a veritable flood of tributes since Lenny’s demise, revealing a true measure of his popularity. It is appropriate, however, to let the final words be with Ray French: “A sad loss to all who knew him but I’m sure that, from ‘on High’, Len will still be urging on his beloved Saints” Amen to that!
Everyone at Saints send their condolences to Lenny’s family at this sad time. Funeral details will be announced later.