VALE: Warren Newcombe with one of his saddles in his South Grafton workshop in December last year. Photo: Adam Hourigan
VALE: Warren Newcombe with one of his saddles in his South Grafton workshop in December last year. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Grafton to farewell Newcombe

GRAFTON will farewell one of its true icons this week when the funeral of legendary saddle maker Warren Newcombe is held in Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday.

Mr Newcombe died on August 20 in St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney after a short illness.

His daughter, Heidi Teare, who is keeping the saddle making business going from the family's South Grafton shop, said her father had a massive heart attack in February and never really recovered.

"He never really got over it," Ms Teare said. "He was in hospital for 10 weeks before he came home.

"A fortnight ago, he started to go downhill and they flew him back to Sydney."

Ms Teare said he had other health problems as well.

"Dad had Addison's disease, which people like Helen Reddy and JFK had. It can also take your life," she said.

The suddenness of Mr Newcombe's passing has been hard for family, as well as the business.

"Dad's heart gave out, but there were still a lot of things he wanted to achieve," Ms Teare said.

"The family were hoping he would pull through. His death has knocked us all for a six."

Ms Teare said her dad taught her a lot about the saddle trade, but kept some of the finer points to himself.

"The harness trade and bridles I worked on most," she said. "I was able to do most of the saddle work, but for some of the finer work, dad would do that himself."

She said she was reluctant to take that work on just now.

"I'd like to, but I wouldn't like to ruin the reputation he's got."

She said horse people from around Australia will be arriving in Grafton to pay their respects on Wednesday.

The funeral, which the family expects to be huge, will be held from 1pm.



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