Rowing community loses legendary oarsman
FORMER world champion and life member of Lower Clarence Rowing Club Lex Essex has died.
The 91-year-old was a passionate advocate and supporter of the sport his whole life telling The Daily Examiner at the Grafton Rowing Club's 130th anniversary in 2012 that he started rowing at school in 1940 competing in his last professional race in 1984.
Mr Essex was one of the last vestiges of the region's rich professional sculling history, which ended in 1963. He held the world lightweight championship and state championship during a period that saw the Lower Clarence host a world rowing championship.
After spending more than four decades out on the Clarence as a competitor including five years with the Grafton club when he lived at Swan Creek, he continued to encourage and inspire the next generations of young rowers for many years after hanging up his oars.
The former president of Northern Rivers Rowing Association and man behind a coveted competition trophy that bears his name, the rowing legend celebrated his 70-year wedding anniversary with wife Lena (dec'd) in 2017.
"He was one of the best rowers on the Clarence," the Grafton Rowing club's oldest member, Greg Ryan, confirmed during the anniversary celebrations.
The much loved father, grandfather and grand-pop, Mr Essex died on Sunday. His funeral will be held this Friday at St James Anglican Church in Maclean at 2pm.