Len Goodman: A Man Who Lived Up to His Name
Len was a great friend of Variety Golf. Pip Burley, Chair of Variety Golf, writes the following tribute:
Those us who had seen or played golf with him since his return from America last year – and noticing his weight loss – had become concerned about his health. Typically, Len would have none of it, determined to carry on in his typically optimistic, cheery way.
Only last week he told us that whilst he wouldn’t be playing at Sundridge Park this Friday, he would be joining us for lunch afterwards.
Having run a successful dance school in Dartford for many years, Len enjoyed huge success when he appeared as head judge on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ from its launch in 2004 until 2016. However, he carried on fulfilling the same role in the American version, ‘Dancing with the Stars’, until November 2022 when he announced that he would be retiring from the show to spend more time with his family. Although best-known for ‘Strictly’, Len starred in many other shows both on television and radio, most notably presenting ‘Cheek to Cheek’, ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’ and the ten-part series ‘Len and Ainsley’s Big Food Adventure’.
When Len was approached to be Captain of Variety Golf in 2020, the first thing he did was write out a cheque for £25,000 to purchase a coach. He relished the Captain’s role, attending virtually every event and proving to be delightful company both on and off the course. Rising to the challenge of leading our society through two years blighted by Covid, his Captaincy concluded in magnificent style when he hosted our first Christmas Lunch at the Hilton in 2021.
Despite his great success professionally, he frequently remarked that joining Variety Golf was the best and most enjoyable thing he had ever done. Jimmy Tarbuck, President of Variety Golf, paid tribute to Len by saying: “We have lost a true gentleman, a beautiful man with no side or affectation and a mischievous sense of humour. To know him was to love him. He will be sadly missed for a long time.”
Len leaves behind his wife Sue and son James to whom we send our sincerest condolences.