Len Crowhurst
(1927 - 2011)

Len Crowhurst

March 2, 1927

August 31, 2011

This site is for Len. It was created by his devoted nieces Sue and Liz. Len meant the world to us even though we lived so far away from him and from each other. We know we are not alone. He had the same effect on our brothers and mothers. Our uncle touched so many people so profoundly. We wanted a place where people could share their memories of his laughter and love. So we invite you to remember Len here and to celebrate his life.


A blogger that I follow was ruminating on ‘uncles’ recently. He thought uncles were rusty remnants of a more innocent age, belonging to the era of the wireless, the stereogram and the Bakelite telephone. He described uncles as fairly suspect older men with thick spectacles and lifeless hair who were ordinarily condescending, didactic and obsessively dedicated to their sinister hobbies. Well, it’s true that my brother and I were the hand me down beneficiaries of Len’s polished old stereogram in our teenage years but that’s where any similarities to the blogger’s dismal avuncular ruminations end.

Our uncle appeared magically at Christmas and other family festivities, his arrival accompanied by that loud contagious nasal laugh and aromatic wafts of rich cigar smoke. Years before people really knew smoking was bad for you, the responsible consumption of alcohol, seatbelts and drink driving laws, he would forego tucking into one dubonnet too many and play Escape from Colditz with us for hours perched on the floor long after other adults had headed for sensible chairs and sensible conversation.

When we went to visit him, Jan, Ruby and the sausage dog in Len’s hand me down red corsair with a leather sun roof and mahogany dash, we had to cross a ford. Having intrepidly forded its tributary, we would spend hours at the bottom of the precipitous garden, messing about by the banks of Molesey. His upbringing in Canada made him exotic and perhaps planted peripatetic seeds in us both or maybe it is just in our genes. He loved wide open spaces and some of my fondest memories are of him singing cowboy songs across the Nevada desert and Home Among the Gum Trees in the Australian Outback.

He enjoyed driving and much to their surprise, used to beat the pants of all those testosterone crazed young men on his biennial trip to a skid pan, even in his 80s. He coached me to drive faster over the Australian red dust and relished watching me realise the benefits of planing over the corrugations instead of rattling all of our skeletons into a collapsed heap of bones. And when we got bogged in Palm Valley, he was the one with the nouse to say how and which wheel to turn to get us out.

Some sort of octogenarian Indiana Jones, he loved the Blue Mountains and the Rockies, the desert and the Outback and our cousin’s Harley (although he would have preferred an Indian) but he was just at home in Vegas in Sue’s hot-tub with a beer and her friends. I guess it all started when he embarked on a European road trip with his great friend, John. Off they headed like Thelma and Louise having cut their teeth escaping unduly predatory ladies on SAGA holidays. Then he would return to the English seaside and round up all his wonderful Worthing neighbours for a night of cheese, wine and hilarity regaling the tales of the latest adventure abroad. At Christmas and birthdays, an oversized card would appear with a photo of some happening in this adventurer’s life. And on the back it would say those words that now bring tears to my eyes and a tightness in my throat, ‘Made especially for you by Len’ with that silly smiling cartoon cat.

Family and friendship were fundamental to Len. His immense love of Ruby makes the world’s greatest love stories pale into insignificance. He adopted more orphans than Mother Teresa and our lives and characters are immeasurably richer for finding him always there like a guardian angel, friend, mentor, confidant and sometimes clown.

He once wrote to me on the subject of my own father, his brother’s demise – 'For the long term I have learnt that life will never be the same again, but one will learn to live with it and that adjustment only comes with a lot of family and friends' support'.

So I would like to raise a toast to Len and all the people that he loved. To all the laughter, forgotten words, kisses and stories. To the memories now at rest and happiness within. Vale, my adored Uncle. Life will never be the same, but I guess that I will have to learn to live with it. Eventually, maybe.


I very much concur with all the wonderful sentiments that Lizzie has already expressed. Though Len and I only saw each other about every 2 years he played an integral part of my life and my brother's and Mum's. I was always amazed at how much Len kept our family together. Where most long distance families dissolve after divorces, Len made ours stronger. With family in Canada, USA, Japan and Australia, he made the distance disappear. I will miss his weekly emails, and those phone calls and cards that were always there when you needed them or were celebrating something special.

He is solely responsible for encouraging Lizzie and I to build a closer relationship. We finally met up as adults in Whistler, BC in April of '06. We caught up like long lost sisters and have been able to support and encourage one another ever since. I know Len was extremely pleased with this.

I am amazed yet not surprised by all the lives that he has touch and I am proud that he was my uncle. I hope that everyone will join us in celebrating his life and that this site will bring back fond memories.

As my Mum would say, he and Ruby are now together again and having a nice cup of tea (okay maybe a glass of wine!) Cheers we love you both.


Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (13 entries)
Can't believe it has been two years. I miss his wise words and generous spirit all the time. I feel lucky to have had him in my life. Love always.
Emily Carrigan (Family friend)
September 12th, 2013
I knew Len very well through his involvement with the Pipeline Industries Guild over some 20 years. He was alway keen to support and help people starting in their careers and in recent years remained a active contributor to the Guild's Past National Chairmen's Forum. I often sought his advice and he always replied with wise words of wisdom.
David Willis (Colleague)
November 14th, 2011
I had the honor of meeting Len on a trip up to Calgary with Sue. The three of us took a fantastic trip to Banff. Len was spry, funny and entertaining. He had a very full life and his story is inspiring. I'll always remember sitting on the deck of an extraordinary cabin in Canmore, drinking beer, watching the view and swapping stories with Len and Sue. Then we went inside and introduced the movie "Avatar" to Len. Thank you Len.
Mark Bowling ( A friend)
September 21st, 2011
To dear Len, my next-door-neighbour for the last 10 years. The moment I moved in, you welcomed me to the street and my home - I only needed to see your wonderful smile once to know that we were going to get on famously. Every morning I would hear your fountain go on, and your cheerful whistling in the garden (reminding me I was probably late!). I enjoyed our frequent, sometimes daily, chats across the garden wall. Even in winter when we were more often ensconced inside our own homes, I would hear your rich, right-from-the-heart laugh through the party wall, and I would smile too - who can resist the sound of such genuine happiness? I experienced your trips to your family and friends abroad too, by seeing the photos and hearing the news when you got home - and I find myself still waiting to hear the back gate-latch go, and for you to come back and tell me your latest news.
Although, at only 10 years knowing you I arrived too late to be a Founder Member of "Len's Fan Club", I am nevertheless a most enthusiastic and avid current member. I was enriched by knowing you, and you will be sorely missed both me and my parents. Until later... love Mary xx
Mary Lawrence (Friend and Next-door Neig)
September 18th, 2011
Dear Len ...as the husband of my mums close cousin you were not really anuncle...but thats how we knew you.For a while you and Ruby were also great neighbours...I used to love calling in on you.You were great at keeping the extended family together...you never ever forgot any of our birthdays or christmasses ...a lovely kind person. We'll miss you...but remember you fondly
Kim Middleton ("uncle" by marriage.)
September 14th, 2011
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"After 2 years your influence is still with me on an ongoing basis. Your advice, encouragement and support will always be missed. Though I do find myself saying now "What would Len think". I know you are still with me. Love Always"
Sue Asanto
September 12th, 2013
"Not a day goes by that you still don't cross my mind. I still find myself wanting to send you an email about something going on in my life or just to chat. You are still greatly missed and never forgotten. Love Sue"
Sue Asanto
August 31st, 2012
"Happy memories of super lunches and meetings"
Alan & Hazel Cowderoy
November 27th, 2011
"We will always remember you Len."
Kim,Bryan and Shay Middleton
September 14th, 2011
"Many Happy Memories."
Jean Davies
September 10th, 2011
"Please join Lizzie and I in celebrating Len's life."
Sue Asanto
September 8th, 2011


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