In Memoriam Simon Leschallas

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On Thursday 17th October a Thanksgiving Service for the life of Simon Leschallas was held in Southwark Cathedral. Simon was a most popular man, both in the Livery as a Past Master Distiller and a Past Master Vintner (in the Phoenix year) as well as in his business career as a Champagne brand specialist. The Cathedral was packed to the rafters with over 800 in attendance including several Phoenix Past Masters and numerous members of the Vintners’ and Distillers’ Companies.
His four children Marie-Claire, Kitty, Bertie and Rupert, his brother William and sister Marie-Louise and his friend of over 40 years, Bertie Gore Browne all spoke both movingly and amusingly of his full life. In attendance were Canon Michael Rawson, the Sub Dean and Pastor as well as the two livery company chaplains. Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Chaplain to the Vintners, who gave a superb sermon, and Reverend Canon David Parrott, Chaplain to the Company of Distillers.
Simon was born on 4th July 1955 and died suddenly on 18th July 2019 at the age of 64. After schooling at Sunningdale and Eton he worked first for Blue Circle, the cement company, before in 1978 joining his father Anthony in Metzendorff, which, among other drinks brands, had represented Bollinger in the UK since 1858. Simon was to remain a director of Metzendorff for 29 years becoming “widely- known and respected n the drinks trade.” He was instrumental in organising sponsorships with the Open Golf, Royal Ascot and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. He died on the first day of this year’s Open Golf Championship; the first time he had missed it in 40 years.
He left Metzendorff in 2009 to form his own company St Aubyn Leschallas Wines Ltd, mainly importing Vondeling from South Africa but also acting as brand ambassador for Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
He was keen on sports, playing golf to a single figure handicap and cricket to a fair standard. His sense of humour was legendary and he could always get a smile out of anyone. At Lords for a 20-20 Final his friend messed up and got “alcohol free” tickets. Undaunted Simon collected his usual beers from the bar. A steward came over to admonish him but without raising his voice Simon said “We’ve got a problem here. This ticket says “alcohol free” but I had to pay for it!” He was allowed to drink his beer in peace.
We were all invited to drink an imaginary toast to “Simon –the loveliest man who ever existed” and then after the service everyone was served a glass of Bollinger to do it for real. Our thoughts are with his wife Jo and all the other members of his family. He will be much missed.
David Pearson
Past Master Marketor