Roger Shaw Tapner (Sanderson’s 1949-53), retired solicitor and Notary Public, died on April 29th 2018 after a short illness.
Roger lived in West Sussex throughout his life. He was born on 24th November 1935 and lived in Worthing until moving to the village of Steyning in 1975 - here he and his wife Linda (who he married in 1976) were well known in the small community, making many local friends and becoming active in several local clubs and societies.
Roger attended Broadwater Manor Prep school before joining Lancing College in 1949. He always spoke fondly of his time at Lancing College, where he became an accomplished tennis player and cricketer. For many years Roger was an active participant in Old Boys sports matches for cricket, tennis and golf and in later years enjoyed coming to events in the Chapel and the Old Boys lunches and lectures, such as the Evelyn Waugh Lecture in 2016.
After Lancing College, Roger trained as a solicitor at the College of Law in London from 1953, travelling up and back daily from Worthing by train. In 1959 he joined the Worthing law firm of Marsh and Ferriman, where his father Walter Tapner was a partner, and remained there for his entire working life. Roger worked tirelessly for the firm, becoming a partner in 1962 and Senior Partner from 1989 until 1994, during which time he helped steer the firm through the first of several local mergers (Marsh Ferriman & Cheale, now Wannops LLP). He specialised in conveyancing, trusts and probate and was known for the caring way in which he helped to look after the legal affairs of elderly clients in nursing homes. He had also qualified as a Notary Public in 1974 and was able to continue this for several years after his formal retirement in 1999 (latterly as a consultant to the firm). He was President of the Worthing Law Society for the 1984/5 year (like his father Walter in 1959/60) and, as someone who was always reluctant to take the limelight, this was an achievement of which his family were particularly proud.
Roger enjoyed sports throughout his life, playing tennis at the old West Worthing Tennis Club through the 1960s/70s and golf at Hillbarn and Worthing Golf Clubs until well into his retirement. He was an avid follower of cricket too and until last summer was able to attend an annual Sussex match in the company of his elder brother John. Since childhood he had a passion for photography - he was an active member of Steyning Camera Club for many years, where he was Chairman 1994-1997, and he loved sharing with his family his growing portfolio of superb pictures and slides, inspiring an interest in art and photography in several of his children and grandchildren. In 2002 he achieved his LRPS (Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society) and this led to him becoming a popular and well-respected judge in other local Camera Clubs, particularly Storrington. His broad interest in the arts extended from visits to Chichester and West End theatre, art galleries and exhibitions in London and beyond, and membership of Steyning Film Society, to watching DVD box sets of Andre Rieu concerts, Danish crime drama and Mad Men! Whenever he could he would enjoy supporting his children, their partners and his grandchildren in their artistic or sporting endeavours. He was a happy man indeed when this allowed him to meet Joanna Lumley and Celia Imrie on son-in-law Andrew Berg’s film set in 2016!
Roger enjoyed excellent health for most of his life, so much so that, despite the usual age-related niggles, his family felt him to be invincible! He loved travelling on holiday by train, despite the logistical complexities and long hours en route - this took him and his wife Linda to places such as France several times, to and around Italy (most recently in 2017 aged 81), and to Scotland (in 2015 – aged 79, from Shoreham via London to Glasgow then Edinburgh and return). He also had many enjoyable touring caravan holidays in the 1980s and 90s, which meant that he and Linda could explore much of the UK at their leisure. Ongoing membership of the Hapimag holiday group meant he and Linda could discover interesting parts of Europe too. His much-loved dog Bertie kept him active with daily walks and they were a familiar sight together on the Steyning playing fields.
Since October last year, he devoted himself to helping Linda recover successfully from major heart surgery. It was then particularly unexpected that he was diagnosed with end-stage cancer in March 2018 that could not be treated, and he passed away peacefully on April 29th 2018 in a nursing home in Henfield. He had a private family burial in St Botolph’s Church, Steyning. He is survived by his elder brother John, his wife Linda (to whom he was married for over 40 years) and his children Robert, Luisa, Richard and Jenny and grandchildren Archie, Nya, Emily, Ben, James and Hannah.
Compiled by his daughter Jenny Burrows, June 2018.