In Appreciation of Les Grainger

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 Grainger', 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.

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 returned he trained to become a teacher, retiring 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.

In 1976 Les founded the Metro Lacrosse Tour team as a cultural and sporting exchange program taking junior players from many clubs in the Stockport are to tour Anne Arundel County, Maryland on a bi-annual basis. The exchanges continue today and many of those players who had the opportunity to participate made life-long friends as a result. In recognition of this work Les was awarded honorary citizenship of the State of Maryland in 1982.

This can only be a brief reflection of the life that Les dedicated to a helping others. Everyone who met him will have their own memories.

Peter Aiton
Stockport Lacrosse Club