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It was established in August 2013 as a free to access news-line on all things happening in Community Sport. It was set up as a small contribution to the legacy of London 2012 which inspired us all and will live long in our memories.

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Len Almond - We were very proud to have known you!

The team at Community Sport Network report with great sadness the passing of Len Almond.

Len will be known to many of you in the PA practitioner community as the former and founding Director of the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health at Loughborough University.

He was a man of incredible passion and innovation in his work to push the wellbeing agenda and the health benefits of an active lifestyle. Within the UK and in the international arena Len was respected for his forward thinking and was a sought after platform speaker and policy advisor to Government and its Departments.

His work embraced physical education and the promotion of physical activity for health across all sectors of society.

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.  Len was always 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 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 at Loughborough University.  He also contributed to the establishment of the National Coalition for Active Ageing in England.  These are just some examples of how Len’s vision for the future became reality and how these continue to influence our work and collaborations today.

In addition, Len 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 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 co-authored and edited many books and papers on physical activity, health and physical education and was 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 the International Association for Physical Education and Sport.

Although Len formally retired from the University in 2003, he still played an important role in the British Heart Foundation’s National Centre’s work as its Foundation Director and Senior Advisor. Len was attached to St Mary’s University in his later years as a Visiting Professor.

Len – you will be missed by us all as a leader, an advocate, and as a crusader for the cause of physical activity. We at Community Sport Network thank you for your inspiration, friendship, and the many happy hours spent drawing out ideas on the napkins in whichever coffee bar or hotel we happened to be meeting with you in!

Martin Corck - On behalf of Community Sport Network