Book of Remembrance: Prof. Leon Hill. MBE (1936-2021)

President of Honour of the British Academy of Fencing

We are sad to announce the passing of Prof. Leon Hill on Monday 21st June. His contribution to the Academy has been invaluable and he is regarded as the finest Coach and Coach Educator the Academy has ever produced.

We welcome any members with memories of Leon to share them in the comments below.


  • Leon’s funeral will be held on July 9th. Due to Covid restrictions attendance will be by invitation only.
  • You can also add your tribute and memories to a private Book of Condolence which will be presented to Leon’s family on the day. If you wish to contribute to it please click here.


  1. A truly good man we met on the Cheshire drama course in the 60’s and 70’s and his patience with youngsters trying to grips with fencing was amazing

    • Mark Dornford-May and I were tutors on the Junior Drama Course 1971. At 1 AM on the last night of the course we found ourselves alone in the staff room with a an unopened seven pint party can of beer. We opened it thinking that we could take a pint each to celebrate our first spell as tutors. We knew we shouldn’t but went ahead anyway. Len came in and on seeing us said “I don’t mind you drinking my beer but now it is open it will go flat. That would be a waste. I expect to find it empty in the morning. Goodnight Gentlemen.” He gave us both a lovely smile and walked out. I have never forgotten this lesson and have never taken any ones beer since. A wise and lovely man. Hope you are well Tim.

  2. Dear Leon, my good friend and fencing colleague for more than 50 years. Gone to the world where fencing masters are blessed. When we were young men together and the Academy was reforming after 1948, we trained together and worked towards his then wish to see the Academy flourish , which it did with him at the helm. I will miss him greatly for his wisdom and always hard work and dedication. My deepest gratitude for having known him for almost a lifetime and my sincere condolences to his family. Goodbye Dear Friend. Rest in peace.

  3. I first met Leon on an Easter Course at Cheltenham. He was an inspiring and gifted coach educator with a knack for bringing the best out of trainee coaches. He certainly taught me to believe in myself. He was a delight to work with and a gentleman through and through. My most sincere condolences to all his family.

  4. I first met Leon in 1996 in Sweden when he made a guest appearance on a coaching course in Sweden. I have had the fortune to have Leon as my mentor during many years and he was present att all my eaxams. Leon was also a very good friend and we shared many good times together. His passing was not unexpected, but still it brings great sadness. If there is a fencing heaven, I am sure he is happier there and I hope to meet him there again.

  5. I was privileged to see Leon in action on several BAF courses. He was an amazingly talented coach and coach educator. I’ll always remember the words of encouragement he gave me while I was on my journey to becoming a Fencing Master. His passing is a great loss.

  6. Words cannot express the sadness I feel for the passing of my lifelong friend. He was my teacher at school, my fencing coach, my mentor and colleague. Above he was my friend

  7. Although I had been prepared for this news for a few years now, the news of Professor Leon Hill MBE passing has hit me with deep sadness. His passing is an end of an era that the Academy will not see again.
    When I first joined the Academy back in the mid 1980’s, Leon was the first to greet me at my first AGM and shook my hand, as a welcome into the fraternity of fencing coaches, which he valued and cherished so highly.
    As President he led from the front with calm dignity, knowledge and the good spirit of a Fencing Master who championed and defended us, the membership.
    A Fencer’s Salute to you and a warm Thank You!

  8. Leon Hill was Assistant National Coach working with Bob Anderson running the first coaching course I attended in 1968, then many others after that. As a coach educator he was superb – detailed, demanding but always encouraging and inspiring. One particular phrase that he used resonates still – ‘Never underestimate the power of praise’. His dedication to the BAF as President and the work he did in committee was immense and has laid the foundation for the structure of the Academy today. His contribution, over many decades, to coach development and education is beyond measure. To me, he was a supportive mentor and loyal friend; he will be sadly missed.

  9. My family and I are extremely sad that our dear friend Leon Hill passed away on Monday 21st June.
    In 1996 I had the great pleasure to meet Prof. Leon Hill, when he was invited to Sweden as examiner. We saw immediately his capacity, quality and standard and started dreaming about being lucky to work with him. For our great surprise and pleasure Prof. Hill expressed his interest in becoming our mentor and started training us, at first in Sweden. For us he became something of an idol.

    I want to express my deepest gratitude to Prof. Leon Hill for becoming my tutor and for all his advice, help, support, enormous devotion and talent to help me to achieve my goals and friendship.

    In 2007 I became Full Master at the British Academy of Fencing and my dream became reality. Before I met my dear mentor and friend I never imagined that I could reach such an achievement.

    Rest in peace our dear friend, we will always miss you.

    Our most sincere condolences to his family.

  10. Leon was working with my groups on several of The Academies courses, I always learnt so much from him. He always had the patience and the ability to make everything suitable to everyone, no question unanswered. A true gentleman who’s intentions seemed only to make better coaches. My thoughts go to all his family.

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