Tribute paid to gardening columnist

Les Foden, Visitor gardening columnist, who has died aged 79. Les also enjoyed fishing in his spare time.
Les Foden, Visitor gardening columnist, who has died aged 79. Les also enjoyed fishing in his spare time.

A much loved and respected gardening columnist for The Visitor has died at the age of 79.

Les Foden, whose gardening hobby turned into a lifelong interest, had been sharing his green-fingered tips and advice with readers for more than 20 years.

Les passed away on May 16 after battling cancer.

Les was born at Preston hospital and lived in Elswick.

He went to Hodges School in Poulton-le-Fylde and Copp primary school in Great Eccleston.

He married and had four children, Andrew (deceased), Paul, and twins Linda and Wendy.

Les lived in Garstang for 25 years before moving to Morecambe.

A painter and decorator by trade, Les’ love of gardening came about because his dad grew dahlias. Les used to watch and learn from his dad in the garden.

Les’s partner of 21 years, Pat Rawsthorne , 69, said: “ It was a hobby gone mad. Everything had to be done to perfection.

“In his 20s, when he used to play football, they called him Cassius Clay because he had to win everything.”

After he finished playing football, he did refereeing.

Pat said: “He was one of the best dahlia growers in the country, he won best in show at Harrogate, Southport and London. He grew them for 40 years.

“When he came to Morecambe in the 90s, he won Britain in Bloom.

“He liked anything to do with growing.

“Along with his column in The Visitor, he gave talks to various groups and he said he used to like to make the old ladies laugh.”

Les also bowled for Trimpell, Galgate and Cleveleys Working Men’s Club.

Pat said that although Les never “pushed” his column many people would approach him at bowling matches to ask for gardening advice.

She added: “I shall miss him terribly. It has been devastating.”

A service was due to be held at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium at 11.45am today, Tuesday, May 24.