A number of friends, colleagues and family gathered today to pay tribute to a Crystal Palace Football Club stalwart.
Len Chatterton, 91, who died just two days before the club beat Watford to reach the Premier League, was involved at Selhurst Park for more than half a century, after starting his life at the club as a youngster in the Palace reserve team.
But he went on to become a much more familiar face with Eagles fans, after becoming a groundsman and tour guide in SE25.
Len took over as Selhurst Park groundsman in 1966, nurturing the pitch for more than 20 years using his unique technique – a converted Volkswagen car nicknamed ‘The Flatterer’.
He always demonstrated huge compassion for disabled and underprivileged members of the community and took a leading role in raising money for local charities, while he became the start attraction at Christmas parties of the 1970s as his alter ego, Leo the Clown.
His service was recognised in 1985, when he was presented with a loyalty award by the Football League.
Born in Holmwood Road, just a few hundred yards away from Selhurst Park, Len spent most of his life in South Norwood, before living out his final years at Hill House Nursing Home, in Kenley, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Len, whose son, Nicky, 59, played for Crystal Palace during the 1970s, also leaves behind a daughter Pamela, 68, 64-year-old Bob, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Len’s wife, Elizabeth, sadly died of cancer in 1989.
Len’s funeral took place at 11.30am today at Croydon Crematorium, before a reception at Selhurst Park’s own Speroni’s Restaurant.