Lenny found out only a few months ago that he had terminal cancer. In typical Lenny style, after recovering from the shock of the news, he decided to fly over to London to, amongst other things, watch his beloved QPR and catch up with a few mates. He and I had a wonderful chat where he reiterated his promise that he would show me around when I came to Brazil next spring, his adopted country. Both he and I knew that he would now not be able to carry out his promise, but that was Lenny for you!
He wasn`t going to let the little matter of his illness ruin his last months. So, he went to football, he went out drinking, he made plans and he enjoyed himself to the full! That was the last time I spoke to him.
Lenny was an incredible person. He was devoted to his beloved wife, Sonia, as well as to his family still living here in England. He rushed over from Brazil to be with his son as he recovered from a horrendous car accident, stopping long enough just to let some of us know what had happened; but he also enjoyed welcoming his family to Brazil and entertaining them royally whenever he could. He was a dedicated teacher - teaching English to Brazilians. He and Sonia ran their own school and, when Sonia left to pursue her own career, he continued to run the school on his own. He and I often shared thoughts and ideas on teaching in general and the English language specifically - he knew far more than I did about the idiosyncrasies of our language (and I thought I was a "grammar anorak"!)
I once asked Lenny why he was known as Lenny - when it wasn`t his name! Lenny was a nickname he earned back in his school days - and it stuck - so much so, that he became "Lenny" to everyone who knew him! Did YOU know his real name?!! His name was Nigel - and he hated it when I called him Nigel - so I stopped!!
Lenny loved his sport - particularly football. In Brazil, he was a mad and devoted Corinthians fan - he followed them around the country very happily. We all know how much he loved QPR and he was always like a kid at Christmas when he flew over to the Rs. He loved the fact he made friends among us on Vital as it gave him more enjoyment to meet up with us in the Springbok - often having started his drinking session previously as he led QPR4Me into watering-holes that I am not sure even 4Me had heard of - let alone been into!
One of the best times he had - as did we all - was when Sonia told him she wouldn`t divorce him if he came over to see the final game of our Championship-winning season! He shot over quicker than Concorde and 4Me arranged his ticket for the Leeds game. Afterwards we ended up at Shepherd`s Bush Green to celebrate - having met up in the Springbok first for a few celebratory drinks and photos.
Lenny had a nasty scare a couple of years ago, having a heart attack and a reminder that, perhaps, he should stop smoking and drinking - he ignored said advice! He loved life too much for that. But this last illness he couldn`t ignore and nor could he beat it - and so, finally, he had to put the last bottle down, extinguish the last cigarette as he passed away peacefully on Wednesday in his sleep.
Lenny fought to the end and, as I said, never let his illness stop him enjoying life. I am sure Dom, his son, will not mind me finishing on this anecdote. Dom spoke to Lenny the evening before his passing - and he was talking about seeing his Corinthians in Japan - even though he knew that was never going to happen - and QPR`s pending season - even though he knew he would never come to Loftus Road again.
Lenny was nothing if not an upbeat, positive man - he had his faults, who doesn`t? But I know he will be sorely missed by all he knew him. I am proud to have been one of those he called his friend and I will miss him very, very much.
R.I.P. Lenny - you will give them a tough time in heaven, I just know it!
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