‘Profound contribution’ remembered

Les Twentyman.

Jennifer Pittorino

Prominent youth outreach worker and western suburbs heart and soul, Les Twentyman has died aged 76.

Growing up in Braybrook, Mr Twentyman used his upbringing to dedicate his life to help youths from the western suburbs, including Wyndham, suffering from disadvantage.

The Les Twentyman Foundation works to engage young people with their education, families and community.

His dedication to his community and young people led him to receiving an Order of the Medal of Australia (OAM) in 1994 for his service to youth as an outreach worker.

The foundation announced his passing on Saturday, March 30, in a statement on social media.

The post read, ”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.

“Our thoughts, love and prayers are with Les’s wife Cherie and his family at this most difficult time, and we will wrap our arms around them.

“Les was larger than life, a true social warrior who was never afraid to say what was needed to be said.

“He gave a voice to the voiceless and through the Foundation he created leaves a legacy of helping young people to a brighter future that will continue beyond his extraordinary life and all at the Les Twentyman Foundation take great pride in the trust he has placed in us to continue this important work in his name.

“He will be greatly missed by all who loved and knew him.”

In his spare time, Mr Twentyman loved sport, working as a physical education teacher early in his career and was a coach and player for the Yarraville VFL football team.

Also extremely passionate about the Western Bulldogs Football Club, he enjoyed a lifelong association with the club.

“He was always one of those people who thought that just a little thing can snowball into a really big thing, reach critical mass,” said Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge in an emotional statement.

“I admire him greatly for that. We’ve lost a great person.

“We did talk about that today as a group, as a team and as a club – the enabling of other people to do good, and that can really manifest in your own team,“ Beveridge said.

“(It can) have a significant impact on how formidable you can be. We did look for some inspiration from Les’s life.”

The state government has confirmed Mr Twentyman will be remembered with a state memorial service.

On Sunday a state government spokesperson said details of the service were being arranged with the Twentyman family and would be announced soon.

– With AAP