Vale Les Twentyman, a true local champion


    By Daniel Brace

    Beloved son of the west, social justice campaigner and devoted Bulldogs fan, Les Twentyman, has died and was honoured with a state funeral at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 16 April. 

    Born in 1948, the eldest of five kids, Les was born and raised in Braybrook. 

    A fine footy player from a young age, Les had a career in the VFL in the 1960-70’s. Old timers might even remember Les playing for the Williamstown reserves and captaining Yarraville to a Division 2 reserve premiership in 1977.

    Les began his working career in 1984 as a social worker in the City of Sunshine (now City of Brimbank) and devoted his life to helping others, campaigning on issues including homelessness, drug abuse, prison reform, and social welfare. 

    Les founded the Les Twentyman Foundation in 1989 to help homeless and at-risk youth and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1994 for ‘services to youth as an outreach worker.’ He was Australian of the Year in 2004 and Victorian of the Year in 2006.

    Always up for a chat, Les was well known for walking the streets and would talk to anyone and everyone who came across his path. His presence in the west was real and will be missed. 

    There was a lot of colour at his funeral, plenty of blue, red and white (for his love of the Bulldogs) alongside young people proudly wearing the uniforms of the Braybrook 96ers basketball club, which was founded by Les and his Foundation.

    At the state funeral his sister, Sandra said “Having his life celebrated in this way, Les would have been ecstatic.” Not a bad sendoff for a boy from Braybrook. Les was 76 years old and died on Saturday, 30 March 2024.

    The Westsider family passes their love to his wife Cherie, his family, friends, and all those touched by his life. All of us in the west are mourning the loss of one of our own. 

    Visit the Les Twentyman Foundation site:

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