Tributes to Jersey tug-of-war legend

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A FARMER who played a central role in parish life in St Peter as well as the development of tug of war in the Island and internationally has died.

Roger Le Gros was a larger-than-life character who, like many of his generation born into farming, grew up speaking Jèrriais, only learning English when he went to school.

Born during the Occupation, Mr Le Gros lived his whole life in St Peter, leaving school at 14 to join his father at St Peter’s House Farm, growing mainly potatoes and cauliflowers.

Up until the mid 1970s, he also had a herd of Jersey cows.

In the mid 1980s, he built a new unit in Rue du Vieux Presbytère, just up the road, where his farm shop became a popular destination for Islanders.

Mr Le Gros was heavily involved with parish life, whether in sport with tug of war and St Peter’s Football Club or with parish affairs as a Constable’s Officer.

He was also an active supporter of many candidates for Constable over the years and a regular contributor at parish assemblies.

Tug of war was a significant feature of Mr Le Gros’ early life and he was a stalwart of the sport, which was a popular feature of Island life in the 1970s and 80s.

He represented his vingtaine, parish and the Island, and after retiring from pulling, he became a well-respected judge who travelled all over the world – as far as Japan on one occasion – to officiate over international competitions.

Later in life, Mr Le Gros was a committed golfer and was a popular member of various golf clubs and societies.

He was also a member of the Classic Car Club and the Jersey Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and would often be seen behind the wheel of his beautiful metallic grey 1962 Mark II Jaguar 3.8, which he loved. Over the years, he transported many Islanders to and from their wedding, including his son and daughter.

Mr Le Gros possessed many of the attributes of a typical Jersey farmer – at times colourful with his language, firm with his beliefs, fair with his staff, generous with the Calvados, strong as an ox, dedicated to his profession, and often lucky at cards.

Mr Le Gros is survived by Ann, their children Paul and Sue, and their grandchildren, to whom the JEP extends its sympathy.

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