We are sorry to announce the death of Mrs Rosemary Harper at Ambersham on 25th May. Rosemary’s late husband, Colonel Alec Harper, was the first Chairman of Cowdray Park Polo Club, and together they played an enormous part in the post-war development of the club.
Having moved back from India with their children, Sandy and Caroline, in the early 1950s Alec Harper presented himself to the late John Cowdray. He recorded in his diary: “Taking a letter of introduction from Colonel Tony Sanger, I went to Cowdray Park to try my luck. I ended up playing for the English team against a visiting Argentine team whom we defeated in three matches.” Thus began a life-long association and friendship which endured until the end of John Cowdray’s life. The Harpers initially rented a house at Graffham before being offered Ambersham Farm where Alec started to make polo ponies. Rosemary recalled in the Cowdray Park Polo Club Year Book marking the centenary year of the club: “John Cowdray rang or visited Ambersham Farm every day to talk ‘polo business’ although the Polo Manager was left to get on with the job of running the tournaments.” And, on the subject of the first Cowdray Park Gold Cup in 1956 she said: “This was John Cowdray’s big dream and it was a huge success. Alec was delighted to be in the Cowdray team despite losing in the Final.”
Having had a tremendously interesting life, Rosemary was full of wonderful memories, and, being extremely well-read, was an engaging conversationalist. She remained a huge supporter of the club after Colonel Harper’s death and her birthday was often celebrated at the side of the pitch during Gold Cup tournaments. It was a privilege to have known her and we send heartfelt condolences to Sandy and Caroline.