Funeral for campdrafting legend will pack Cathedral
LEGEND is an often overused word, but it applies perfectly to Copmanhurst campdrafting icon Laurie Stephenson, who died on September 6.
Campdrafters and other horse lovers from around Australia are expected to flock to Christ Church Cathedral Grafton today to pay their last respects to their friend and a sporting legend who achieved at the highest level of his sport.
Current campdrafting star Peter Connor said if you couldn't take inspiration from Laurie Stephenson there was something wrong with you.
"He was a lovely man and and as a winner of the Warwick Gold Cup (1980) on his beloved Blue Moon Mystic, he reached the absolute heights of campdrafting," Mr Connor said.
"I remember years ago when I bought my stallion Yothu Yindi, I had a call from Laurie letting me know if there was anything I needed to help out, just let him know. It made me feel special to think that the man who had Blue Moon Mystic would make that offer.
"But it was the type of man he was. He was prepared to help out a young man just making his way in the sport. It was a really special gesture."
Mr Connor said Laurie's win in the Warwick Gold Cup, rated the equivalent of the Melbourne Cup by campdrafters, opened the door for more local success.
"After Laurie won in 1980, we've had two more winners in Stephen Hill and David Gillett," he said. "Stephen Hill and Laurie were really close and Stephen rode Blue Moon Mystic horses."
He said there was more to Laurie than just his campdrafting success.
"His marriage to Elaine was one of the foundations of his life. It was a special occasion at the beginning of the year last year when he and Elaine renewed their marriage vows.
"But that was Laurie. In his sport and away from it, he was just a special man."
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral for Laurie today in Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton, from 11am.