A hit with Ali, and with the league

January 8, 2009
Dame Ann Leslie (left) with League of Jewish Women president Ella Marks

Dame Ann Leslie (left) with League of Jewish Women president Ella Marks

Punching Muhammad Ali, being cared for by Indira Gandhi and avoiding sniper fire in Bosnia were among tales from a journalistic career recounted by Dame Ann Leslie to League of Jewish Women members.

Questioned by league president Ella Marks, the Daily Mail journalist said she had struck the legendary boxer to attract his attention. The late Indian prime minister had come to her aid when she was sick during an interview and a loud outburst of foul language had stopped the Bosnian sniper in his tracks.

The 140-strong audience at Friends House in Euston also learned how the writer’s “mighty handbag has been a fantastic weapon”. When in tricky situations, she would often empty its contents on to the pristine desk of an exasperated official, making him more inclined to deal with her speedily.

Chair of the executive Marilyn Brummer presented the speaker with a certificate for trees planted in her name in Israel. Thanking the league, Dame Ann said she already had trees in her name in Israel in recognition of her efforts to help refuseniks leave the then Soviet Union.

The event rounded off the league’s 65th anniversary celebrations.

Last updated: 6:50pm, January 8 2009