Leslie Gordon Toulson (1939-2012)
Les Toulson was medical and science correspondent of The Sun newspaper.
Born in Witham Place, Grantham, his family moved to Heathfield Road in 1944.
He attended Kings School, complete two years National Service in the RAF, becoming anS.A.C with 230 SQN Detachment.
From 1957-59, then joined the Lincolnshire Echo.
Later he moved to the former Nottngham Evening Post, where he met and married Angela in Nottingham in1963.
In 1964 he joined the old Sun in Manchester, eventually transferring to The Sun in London when it re-launched.
He left the paper aged 49 to freelance for newspapers and magazines.
He was one of nature’s born entertainers, a talented piano and accordion player, as well as a guitarist in a Lincoln group, who enlivened any company with his ready wit and inexhaustible fund of jokes
Socially, Les was immensely popular and was able to entertain with jazz and swing on the piano and often did so at British Medical Association press parties. He also had a very sophisticated sense of humour that came in useful during the tedious waiting that the medical press corps had to endure at some conferences.
Displayed in a prominent position at his home in Staines was the metal page from the paper that produced that unforgettable headline: ‘Freddy Starr ate my hamster’.
Les was one of the fastest writers in Fleet Street, able to turn out crisp, crackling copy in minutes which subs could only struggle to improve. He did his best to keep The Sun on the ethical straight and narrow as he juggled stories on The Pill, under-age sex, heart transplants and space flight.
He was resourceful, too. Door-stepping colleagues, trying to get a quote on a hot topic from the Chinese legation in London, were dumbfounded when Les alone was allowed into the building. His trick was to stand on the doorstep beaming and saying ‘Ying tong ying tong ying tong iddle I po’ (lyrics from a Goons’ song) and other oriental-sounding nonsense.
Surprisingly, they invited him in and sent for various people to see if they could understand his particular Chinese language,’ said Clare Dover, who was there. ‘Les helped out with: “Speaky Inglis, too”.’ Eventually, the Chinese brought out a higher- ranking official. And Les got a major scoop.
He lived with his wife and family in Staines Middlesex during his latter years.