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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Melbourne Youth Worker Les Twentyman Dies Age 76

Tributes flood in for Les Twentyman, the Melbourne youth advocate and champion of social justice, who passed away at the age of 76. Twentyman is remembered as a transformative figure, an icon, and a prominent personality in Melbourne, having dedicated his life to aiding the disadvantaged, particularly the youth.

The echoes of tributes resound through the streets, a symphony of gratitude for a man who was more than just a figure but a force of nature. Les, with his boundless energy and unwavering dedication, stood as a beacon of hope in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

Through the Les Twentyman Foundation, he transformed the lives of countless young souls, reaching out with a hand of support and guidance when all seemed lost. His foundation, a fortress of love and empowerment, became a sanctuary for those who had nowhere else to turn.

But it wasn’t just bricks and mortar that made his legacy endure; it was the spirit of kindness and resilience that he infused into every program, every initiative. Les wasn’t just a social worker; he was a mentor, a friend, a guardian angel for those navigating the turbulent waters of youth.

Victoria’s Opposition Leader John Pesutto said Mr Twentyman’s work made “an enormous contribution to improving outcomes for the most vulnerable in our community”. 

“A fierce advocate on social justice issues, thousands of young and at-risk Victorians had their lives changed for the better due to the tireless efforts of Les and the foundation he established,” he said.

In a world often marred by division and indifference, Les stood as a testament to the power of compassion. His larger-than-life presence illuminated the darkest corners, reminding us all that every life is precious, every soul worthy of redemption.

A spokesman for the foundation announced his death on Saturday morning, saying Twentyman would be greatly missed.

“Les inspired us all with his lifelong dedication to helping those in need and his profound contribution to our community has positively changed the lives of thousands of young Victorians and their families,” the statement said.

“In life Les was never afraid to say what was needed to be said, he gave a voice to the voiceless and leaves a legacy of helping the disadvantaged and those in need that will live long past his extraordinary life.

“Our thoughts, love and prayers are with Les’s wife, Cherie, and his family at this most difficult time.”

In the hours before his death, Les Twentyman Foundation CEO Paul Burke said the 76-year-old was still “working the phones” to find shoes and clothes for a single dad.

“It has been a great shock today; it was only yesterday that Les was looking to find shoes and clothes for a family in need and talking about flying to the US for filming of a documentary he had been working on,” Burke said.

“Les was a great man, larger than life … We will continue his work in helping young people to a brighter future and will ensure that his passing will not be the end of his legacy.”

A gifted football player, he often spent weekends alongside his grandmother, cheering for Williamstown in the vintage VFA league. At the age of 15, after clinching both the best and fairest and goal-kicking titles at Albion, he caught the attention of Footscray.

His passion for sports endured as a defining aspect of his life. Initially pursuing a career as a physical education teacher, he later transitioned into social work.

As a staunch advocate of the Western Bulldogs, he played a pivotal role within the AFL club’s Save the Dogs committee, instrumental in thwarting the club’s proposed merger with Fitzroy in 1989.

According to a Western Bulldogs spokesperson Les dedicated his life to helping others and his tireless work with young Victorians as a teacher, youth worker and ultimately through his foundation has made an indelible difference and changed countless lives for the better.

Victorian Minister for Youth Natalie Suleyman called the 76-year-old a “tireless campaigner” for the city’s young people.

“Les believed that no matter your circumstances, background or gender – everyone deserves an equal opportunity in life,” she said.

Tributes have flowed for youth and social justice campaigner Les Twentyman, honouring him as a Melbourne icon and a “truly great Australian”

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
The Werrribee News editorial team is managed by Austech Media Inc and the journalist at Tech Business News - Australia
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