Les Leston

Les Leston

Birth
Bulwell, Nottingham Unitary Authority, Nottinghamshire, England
Death 13 May 2012 (aged 91)
Eastbourne, Eastbourne Borough, East Sussex, England
Burial Eastbourne, Eastbourne Borough, East Sussex, England
Plot Ashes were collected by family.
Memorial ID 93156105 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Auto Racing Pioneer. The winner of numerous races in England and Europe during the early 1950s, he is better remembered for creating the first fire-retardant gear for drivers. Born Alfred Lazarus Fingleston he was raised in London from the mid 1920s and became 'Les Leston' when his father Anglicized the family name in 1927. He was to become well known as a jazz drummer while in his teens, performing with several Big Bands including that of Bert Ambrose. During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force and participated in numerous bombing raids then after the conflict joined with his father in a spare plane parts business. Leston started racing in 1949, orininally in Jaguar SS100, though in his period of greatest success he drove a modified JBS dubbed the 'Leston Special' as well as several varieties of the Cooper. Competing on the Formula Three circuit he captured seven races in 1952 including the Luxembourg Grand Prix then in 1953 challenged for the Formula Three Championship, a distinction he was finally to achieve in 1954 when he took the checkered flag eight times. He was to drive in three Formula One Grand Prix Championships begining in 1956 and later was to have success in British GT racing but with time was gradually to withdraw from the track and to concentrate on marketing custom steering wheels and other equipment. The danger of fire had long been the drivers' greatest fear, so much so that they would often run without seatbelts for fear of being trapped; Leston was to develop and sell flame-resistant clothing as well as effective safety helmets and thus to contribute to the saving of numerous lives. He was also to be a noted BBC commentator but in 1973 he retired and relocated to Hong Kong, a move that did not slow his business ventures. He returned to England in the 1990s, settled in Kent, and there lived out his days.

Bio by: Bob Hufford

Gravesite Details Leslie Leston was cremated here at Eastbourne Crematorium on 29.05.12 and his ashes were collected on 30.05.12.

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Les Leston?

Current rating:

16 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 6 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 93156105
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Les Leston (16 Dec 1920–13 May 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 93156105, citing Eastbourne Crematorium, Eastbourne, Eastbourne Borough, East Sussex, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .