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Event 'pioneer' Len Wilcock passes away

Worldspan founder remembered for his adventurous spirit and passion for 'finding something new'

Worldspan founder Len Wilcock died after a four-year battle with cancer

Worldspan is mourning the death of its founder Len Wilcock, an events industry ‘pioneer’ who had a thirst for travel and exploring new places.

Mr Wilcock died on 27 January aged 74, after a four-year battle with cancer. After years of travelling as a musician, Len founded Worldspan in 1972, the same year that saw the unfolding of the Watergate scandal and the final Apollo Mission to the moon.

Worldspan MD Sophie Morris said Mr Wilcock would be remembered for his kindness and larger-than-life personality.

“He was a pioneer for the industry,” she said.

“He pioneered destinations and was among the first to (take incentives and conferences) to countries. He had an adventurous spirit and was always looking for something new; he didn’t like to follow the norm.

“Len’s pioneering spirit is now the ethos of the company and it’s what we believe in. Although the world is becoming a smaller place we’re always looking at destinations to see what we can do differently there. He’s had a huge influence in the way we do things, and it will continue to set us apart.”

His son Jason Wilcock has taken up role as chairman of Worldspan, and completed a 'family' buy-out earlier this month. 

Industry peer and long-term friend Maarten Tromp, of Silversea Cruises, said Len had a colourful personality, and would be missed by all he crossed paths with.

"He travelled the world with singer Roger Whittaker and when he came back from his travels, he got his friends and others from the village together and used to tell them about his travels, and would start selling packages," Tromp said.

"He used to organise slideshows at his house. That's how he rolled.

"He had a great personality and a great relationship with his clients, be they individuals or corporates. All his clients have been with his company for years.

"He's left a big mark but he's got a great successor in Jason his son, and a fantastic team at Worldspan. He left his mark but it carries on."

  • Jane Filler of Fivestarfiller 12/02/2016

    Indeed, what a sad month. He created a company that had such energy and force and it's great to see Jason continue on in the same fashion. Like Peter and Graham, he was a huge character in our industry and our world will be all the more sad without the likes of them in it. My thoughts and love go to Len's family and his colleagues at Worldspan.

  • David Hackett of Meetings Guru Limited 28/01/2016

    What a sad month for our industry. Three leaders - Peter Franks, Graham Frazer and Len Wilcox - all departed.
    The meetings and events sector now employs many thousands in the UK but at the time those three were entering the business it was tiny so this is a real thinning of those who helped to found, promote and operate the early corporate groups who embraced this new marketing tool.
    Len was indeed a pioneer : and he quickly established both a reputation and impressive client list despite his seemingly remote base in north Wales.
    He was always a joy to share time with and a significant contributor to the success of the events industry. He, like Peter and Graham will be greatly missed.
    My thoughts and best wishes to Les's family and friends as they remember a great bloke.

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