Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)
Obituary Of Les Lamb (1913-2011)
Although, at the time of his death, Les had not visited Orwell Park Observatory for several years, he will be fondly remembered by many long standing members of OASI. He joined the Society in 1991, having moved to the Ipswich area for family reasons. He was made an honorary member after his 90th, birthday, commenting in his usual humorous style that it was a cost effective decision of the committee to leave it until so late! He became a keen and knowledgeable observer, hosting frequent observing sessions in his back garden. Of many fond memories of him I cherish the following:
Les and I lived close to one another and I was therefore able to give him a lift every week to society meetings after he took the decision to give up driving (remember the cartoon of him in a wheelbarrow?). During our travels together, I had the pleasure of hearing much about his early working life in London during the war and his childhood experiences. I knew his wife Louie, who sadly died in 2003. In his final years he was lovingly cared for by his daughter and husband at their home in Hadleigh. For me, he is high on the list of interesting friends and I will be one of many who will miss him. I would be pleased to loan to the society library, perhaps on a reference basis, my copy of his Memories, and a book he kindly gave me of his cartoons.
Like all members of OASI who knew Les Lamb, I was greatly saddened by the recent news of his death, having not quite scored a century.
Les joined OASI in 1991 and was made an honorary member after ill-health meant that he was no longer able to ascend the spiral staircase at Orwell Park. In the early 2000s, he and I jointly led Astronomy Workshops on observing constellations. I greatly enjoyed working with Les to create our scripts, as I could always rely upon him to keep us firmly rooted in the practical realities of observational astronomy and far away from wild flights of fancy. Although Les was in his 80s at this stage, he was never fazed by new technology, and soon was remarkably comfortable with production of our scripts and slides by computer.
For many years, Les's wonderful cartoons graced the front cover of the OASI Newsletter, and it is through this rich vein of entertaining commentary on the astronomical events of the day that many members will remember him. In his role as cartoonist, he was ever alert to the often strange and bizarre happenings associated with OASI, and many members looked forward to the issues of the Newsletter to learn how he would portray events. His incisive sense of humour never failed to delight. His cartoons and sketches are all on-line. I know that he would enjoy the fact that his work still entertains, and I'm sure that, even now, in a better place, he's having a real chuckle at the thought…