Tributes to former Ipswich Town star Len Fletcher following his death
- Credit: Supplied by family
Heartfelt tributes have been paid to former Ipswich Town star Len Fletcher following his death at the age of 91.
Born in April 1929, Len grew up in London and signed for the Blues in 1949 after being scouted playing for Didcot in Oxfordshire.
The wing-back's stay at Portman Road lasted six years and culminated in being part of the squad which was crowned Football League Third Division South champions in 1954-55.
He joined Scottish side Falkirk after that campaign but returned to Suffolk at the end of his sporting career, settling in Felixstowe.
Len, who had three daughters, enjoyed a varied life after hanging up his boots - including working for insurance firm Willis Towers Watson, managing three Ipswich hair salons and running a Felixstowe bed and breakfast with his second wife, Gillian.
He became a "very well-liked" member of the community who would do anything to help out others, his family members have said.
However, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2014 and was given the devastating news that it had spread to his lungs two years later.
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Len was treated at St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich in early March, with his family hoping he would return home reinvigorated.
Sadly, his condition deteriorated and he passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours on Sunday.
Len's daughter Luisa described her father as a "complete idol" and paid tribute to the care workers who treated him in his final years.
She said: "My dad was very proud to be a part of the football club. He was a bit of a free spirit when he left Falkirk but he found his feet here.
"When I would take him to the shops, so many people would stop to say hello to him. He would want to chat to everyone.
"My dad was a hero. If there was something he could do to help someone, he would do it.
"He was a complete idol - everyone looked up to him. There's not one negative thing anyone would say about him."
His daughter Fiona added: "My father loved playing for Town. Ipswich are a fabulous family club - right up to the last minute, they look after their older players.
"He was just very well-liked - everyone knew him. He was a family man who will be very much missed by everyone."
Pat Godbold, former Ipswich Town secretary, said Len was very proud to have played for the Blues.
She said: "Len was a gentleman. I don't think he ever missed an ex-players' reunion. He was very well-respected and was still watching matches at Portman Road up to a few years ago.
"He knew so much about Ipswich, even though he wasn't from Suffolk. He went out of his way to help anyone."
Len's funeral will be held on April 28 at Ipswich Crematorium and his family asked for all tributes to be sent to East of England Co-op Funeral Services.