Saturday, 25 May 2019

CANZA co-founder Len Edney passes away

By Richard York | Prague Daily Monitor |
28 November 2018

The Australian–New Zealand community in Prague has lost one of its leading lights with the passing of Len Edney on 25 November. Born in the UK on 21 September 1938, he migrated to New Zealand in the early 1960s before landing in Prague in the early ’90s.

Within a decade he had risen to become managing director of the Underwater World project and spent many years promoting the vision of an aquarium at Letná Park. The ambitious project was difficult to realize in a politically charged environment, with Len’s efforts being marked by his strong commitment to ethical principles.

When the plan was finally abandoned, typically irrepressible, Len was not discouraged and continued to promote a number of entrepreneurial businesses in the Czech Republic.

His unbounded energy and enthusiasm belied his years. In 2005, he co-founded, along with Steve Rees and Richard York, the Czech Australia New Zealand Association (CANZA) which quickly grew to become the main group both supporting the Australian and New Zealand expatriate population and promoting the “Down Under” culture in the Czech Republic.

As a CANZA board member, he played a key role in establishing core community events such as the Annual CANZA Charity Ball and the ANZAC Day commemoration and barbecue, for which he was head BBQ chef for many years.

In its 13 years, the CANZA Charity Ball has raised over CZK 2 million for charity.
For most members of the community, beyond his many specific achievements, it will be Len’s personality which we recall with the greatest fondness. Len managed to remain both young in spirit and yet an old-school gentleman. His smile lit up every room he entered.

For many years, he was a mainstay of Australian bar Fatboys, not only the life of the party, but always ready to make time for those in need.

He would regularly open his home and his heart to both friends and strangers alike. In this sense, despite his nascent, Kiwi-accented Czech, Len was truly Bohemian.

Len leaves behind a son, Leon, and daughters Kate and Kristyna. He will be missed by family and friends alike. Rest in peace, Len Edney.