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Graham Lewarne - The Bush Club

Comments for Memorial of: Graham Lewarne
Name of Member: Memorial Page Administrator
Date of submission: 07/04/2022
Consent: I agree
Status: Approved


Comments submitted:

Submitted by Memorial Administrator for Bob Taffel

I first got to know Graham in 1947 when we both were in 5th class at Artarmon Public School, two of Fred Lowrie’s less scholastic pupils, but we loved sport. We both went on to Nth Sydney High but at the end of 1st year (yr 7), Graham moved to the Shore School. Our paths did not cross again until 2001 when Graham and wife, Penny, showed up for a week of walking in the Pyrenees with Pyrenees Adventures (no longer operating). At that time, my wife Sue and I, both recently retired, had taken on the on-site management based in a French Basque farm house, Etchers (formally Etxexuria, Basque for white house) at the foot of the mountains.

I recognised Graham’s name on the upcoming guests list and it was with some excitement that I met them at Dax station to drive them and the other guests for that week, back to the house. I had this picture of Graham in my mind but I guess I must have changed as much as he had and so I had to ask who he was. After a typically great week of walking, friendship and eating, with a bit of local culture thrown in, we waved Graham and Penny farewell.

The next time we got together was when I joined The Bush Club in 2003 after meeting Graham Conden on an NPA walk. Graham was already a member and we did many walks together before, one day, Graham said to me, “Why don’t we organise a Bush Club visit to Etchers?”. Well, he didn’t take long to talk me into it and we organised the first visit in 2006 with three lots of 12 members spread over three weeks, with Sally Harrison wrangling the pots and pans in the kitchen as well as supervising most of the other stuff involved with the venture. Sal was a great hit with everyone, a super friendly personality, a great cook and an amazing personality. We knew Sal from our Pyrenees Adventures time, she still lives in a little Suffolk village called Walsham-le-Willows, and it didn’t take much persuading to have her join us.

We did the Etchers thing with The Bush Club several times before we both agreed to call it a day. We both continued to lead Bush Club walks until Graham was diagnosed with mesothelioma and my knee started giving me grief. We shared a love of classical music, jazz and the theatre. When Graham died I lost more than just a good friend. His generosity knew no bounds, his depth of knowledge was astounding and he had a knack of presenting me with unthought of insights into many of the things that came up for discussion between us.

Go gently my friend, I miss you greatly.

Bob Taffel

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