SportsAid is sad to announce that Len Hatton OBE, the charity's President, recently passed away at the age of 87. Len, born in London in 1928, was a long-standing supporter and benefactor of SportsAid who held the role of Chairman from 1997 to 2012. His services to sport were recognised with an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2013.
Len first became a member of the SportsAid Foundation in 1982 before joining the executive committee in 1996. A year later, he was appointed Chairman of the charity, following David Mellor into the position. Len oversaw and funded SportsAid’s transition from its pre-Lottery role, when it supported the nation’s top international athletes, to the focus it has today on helping the next generation of British sports stars.
Len was a generous supporter of SportsAid’s key fundraising events such as its annual SportsBall, where he and his wife Carol met and were seated with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge in 2013, and provided early backing to Sport England’s Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (known as TASS). Len was awarded the role of Honorary President of SportsAid in 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the charity.
Chris Baillieu MBE, Chairman of SportsAid and one of the very first recipients of the charity’s support as a Great Britain rower, said: "Len joined SportsAid at a critical time because the National Lottery had just taken over responsibility for the funding of Britain’s best athletes which had been the charity’s role since 1976.
“Under his Chairmanship, SportsAid worked with the Sports Councils to develop the clear role the charity plays today, now distributing several millions of pounds every year to support young talent. The success of this transition was marked by the appointment of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as our Patron in 2013. Everyone at SportsAid would like to send their thoughts and best wishes to Carol and the children Michael and Nicole."
Len also chaired the committee that successfully bid for the 2005 IAAF World Athletics Championships and was a Patron of the Lord’s Taverners, the European PGA and Polytechnic Harriers. He was a former Director of Newcastle United FC, President of the Polytechnic Swimming and Water Polo Club, and an official of the Amateur Athletic Association.