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Owen Le Vallee - Obituary

Thu, 05 Jan 2023

Owen Le Vallee MBE (middle) took part in the Annual General Meeting of the IIGA in Guernsey the summer of 2022, as enthusiastic and dynamic as ever. To the left chair Jorgen Pettersson, Åland, and vice chair James Johnston, Shetland.
Owen Le Vallee MBE (middle) took part in the Annual General Meeting of the IIGA in Guernsey the summer of 2022, as enthusiastic and dynamic as ever. To the left chair Jorgen Pettersson, Åland, and vice chair James Johnston, Shetland.

Owen brought action to our Games


When the first ever Island Games took place in Isle of Man 1985 everyone praised the idea and called it a success which had to continue. Owen Le Vallee wanted more and volunteered to host the second Games – on behalf of  Guernsey – without asking permission beforehand. That defined Mr Le Vallee, he preferred action instead of talk.


Owen Le Vallee is no longer with us. He passed away quietly on Tuesday 3rd January 2023 at the age of 95 and his memory will stay forever with all of the members of the International Island Games Association (IIGA).

The IIGA have taken responsibility for organizing the Games since 1985 and amongst them who made this possible was our Honorary Life Member Owen LeVallee MBE who earlier than most saw the potential in bringing islanders together in international sport. Owen was the one who raised his hand and told everyone Guernsey is ready to become a Host Island back in 1987. The Games surely started in Isle of Man 1985 but the second step was taken in Guernsey and we all thank Owen for his commitment, enthusiasm, vision and decisiveness.

Owen was elected as the first Vice Chairman of the Association in 1985 and subsequently elected Chairman in 1987. In 1989 he was awarded the honour of becoming the second Honorary Life Member of the IIGA for his services to the Association. In 1993 he was elected to the office of IIGA Treasurer and served until his retirement in 2001. During his service to the IIGA Owen made a significant contribution to the work of the Association by compiling the original Constitution and By-laws, to a large extent inspired by the Commonwealth Games Association which he had been a part of for many years.

In his younger days, Owen was a keen all round sportsman, competing in Athletics, Football, Badminton, Cricket and Roller Hockey, representing his beloved Guernsey on many occasions. It is however, for his services as an international sports administrator over the past 40 years, that he is best known. He was a founder Member and Secretary of the Guernsey Sports Federation 1953-1959 and the first Secretary of the Guernsey Sports Council from 1966-1971. He also served as Treasurer and President of the Council.

In 1968 Owen became a founder Member of the Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association and served as its Secretary and Chairman for over 30 years. He has attended 8 Commonwealth Games, six as General Team Manager for the Guernsey Team and then as Chef de Mission for the Games in Victoria, Canada in 1994 and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998. In 1982 he was elected to the Sports Programme Committee of the Commonwealth Games Federation and served on its International Executive Committee for 10 years. For his service to sport in Guernsey, he has been honoured by his appointment as a Life Vice President of the Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association, Life Member of the Guernsey Athletics Club and the Sarnia Walking Club.

Owen was, by profession, an insurance company manager and financial adviser. He was elected as a Guernsey politician in 1985 and served for 9 years in the Government of the Island as a Deputy, during which time he was Vice President of the Guernsey Recreation Committee.

My personal memories of Owen Le Vallee are many and although he left the daily operations of the growing IIGA he never stopped being involved in the work of the Executive Committee. Owen followed us on a regular basis and continued being a ”caring uncle” of the Games he loved so dearly. By phone, messages and emails he encouraged, questioned and coached us all and it was a great honor to welcome Owen to the Annual General Meeting in Guernsey last summer.

Owen was a man of determination but also a man of faith and love, always up for a discussion and advice; never missed an opportunity to have a friendly chat and a common laugh. Owen took his duties seriously but never forgot to see the actual people and competitors that made his vision come true.

It is heartbreaking to realize Owen Le Vallee will not be part of the NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey the summer of 2023 but rest assured, from his place in heaven he will be following every step we take and, I am sure, he will smile and wish all of us good luck and a safe journey home.

At the end of the day we are defined by the memories we leave behind us and the legacy of Owen is an international family in sport that will cherish his heritage eternally.

Without enthusiasts like Owen Le Vallee the IIGA would not exist. Our memories go to all the fantastic moments of joy we have shared. Our condolences go to the family and friends of a great character who made a difference for many others, all over the world, far from his beloved Guernsey.


Jorgen Pettersson

IIGA Chairman