In Appreciation of Les Grainger 1922 – 4th January 2011
Leslie Grainger passed away on Tuesday 4th January 2011 following a short illness, and he continues to be sadly missed by his lacrosse family.
With the passing of Les Grainger, Lacrosse has lost a man who has been a huge presence in the lives of many. Les, or to many who knew him always ‘Mr G’, was held in the highest regard for both his kindness and his single-mindedness.
Les dedicated the best part of 60 years to Lacrosse firstly as a player and then as a junior coach and manager, chauffer, teacher and administrator. For many years he was Junior Secretary and President of Stockport LC and also heavily involved in the administration of the game at County, Regional and National level, serving as President of the ELU in 1988/89. In 1994 Les was the co-ordinator for the overseas teams in the in the Junior Festival event as part of the World Cup.
In 1945, Les returned to Stockport after serving in the Army. He had served in Palestine, Greece and Austria firstly as a driver in a tank regiment and then as an education officer. Upon his return he trained to become a teacher, and after a long and successful career, retired from teaching in 1985 from Alexander Park Junior School. In 1982 Les was the last Headmaster of Christ Church primary school in Heaton Norris, Stockport. Only the church steeple remains of the church and school but the memory of being sent to see ‘The Headmaster’ still lingers with one current member of Stockport Lacrosse club.
He married Netta, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis spending many years confined to a wheelchair. Netta passed away in Oct 1973.
Les joined Stockport LC in 1947 at a time when game and the Club were experiencing hard times. During the late 1950’s he began helping with junior program and eventually took full control. He helped to develop a junior program with the single-minded purpose and drive that he demonstrated in everything he turned his hand to. At the same time that he was fostering interest in junior lacrosse he founded the ‘Tadpoles’, a locally based swimming club for physically handicapped children for which he would occasionally enlist help from his lacrosse players. He retired as Junior Secretary in 1989 but he still retained an interest in the junior program and until recently took every opportunity to lend support and give advice to coaches, players and parents.
Mr G was the founder of the Stockport Metros and the exchange tour to Anne Arundel County. This was established in 1976 and has been running successfully ever since. The tour ethos has always been “Friendship through lacrosse” a principle that was central to all the work that Mr Grainger did over the years. 1998 was the final tour for Mr Grainger who insisted the program continue without him. The exchanges continue today and many of those players who had the opportunity to participate made life-long friends as a result. Without Mr Grainger’s commitment and vision the 600 plus boys that have since toured the US would not have had this fantastic opportunity. He continued to be involved, providing advice and guidance right to the end.
In recognition of this work Les was awarded honorary citizenship of the State of Maryland in 1982.
He was an inspiration to coaches, players and parents a like changing hundreds of lives for the better. He will be greatly missed, but remembered with much fondness by all that knew him.