It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Sally Lawrence, long-serving Lea R.C. Secretary. Sally is probably the most recognisable member of the Lea to other clubs – and many people from the regional, national and international rowing community came to know and love her over the years.
Sally was diagnosed with cancer eight weeks ago and had come home from hospital to be with her family and cats for the last few weeks. Sally sadly passed away on the afternoon of 1 May.
Lea R.C. was a huge part of Sally’s life. She worked tirelessly for the Club, as an organiser, a cox, secretary, accountant, and the font of all knowledge. She was the epitome of inclusiveness, making sure people enjoyed their rowing above all else. Sally gave so much of her time with that in mind, and could never say no to anyone who sought help. She encouraged people to try new things, train harder, put up for races, because she thought they'd have fun. She knew there was much more to rowing than winning a race.
As well as coaching, and fostering the development of the Masters Men’s squad, Sally jointly set up a new group for Jewish women from the local Hasidic community, supported people with disabilities to participate, and was one of our most experienced coxes, in high demand across the club. Her commitments to rowing went far beyond Lea R.C. though, and in 2014, Sally became Secretary to British Rowing’s Eastern Region Rowing Committee.
As well as having huge integrity and tremendous energy, she was also great fun – making us all laugh with the double entendres she often didn’t realise she was uttering!
Sally touched the lives of everyone in the Club, and rowing on the river Lea will never be the same without her. It’s hard to think of anyone who has contributed more.
Sally was to be awarded the British Rowing Medal of Merit at this year’s ceremony but sadly was unable to receive it in person. We will find a way to commemorate the inclusive spirit she so ardently fostered. More information on this and plans to celebrate her life will follow in due course.
Sally will never be forgotten.