Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tributes were today paid to one of the pioneers of the Norwich Lanes.
Clive Rowe’s body was found in south Lowestoft last week.
The 59-year-old father-of-two was a founding member of the Norwich Lanes Traders’ Association and was chairman of the group for some years.
Over the past 22 years, Mr Rowe had helped his wife, Anne, grow the women’s clothes shop Walkers, originally in Pottergate, now based in Upper Goat Lane, and had worked tirelessly to help raise the profile of the Norwich Lanes. Those who knew and worked with him said he was largely behind the success of the city’s unique and historic shopping quarter.
Mr Rowe, who lived in Pakefield but previously lived in Norwich, leaves his wife and their two children Mark and Becky.
His wife of 32 years said: “Clive was the best husband anyone could wish for and I couldn’t have asked for more. He was a keen sailor and loved the great outdoors, we loved walking and cycling together.
“We had just bought a house together in Normandy and were looking forward to spending a lot more time there. We only recently returned from France after a lovely family holiday with both our children. I am so grateful for all the wonderful memories of the times we have spent together. It is devastating that we will never know why he chose to take his own life. Thanks to all my friends and family for being so supportive whilst we come to terms with this tragedy.”
His daughter Becky, 30, added: “Dad was passionate about small businesses and was a real champion of the unique shopping experience offered by all the businesses in the Norwich Lanes. It was hard work to get it all established and he worked tirelessly.
“Whilst it has moved on a lot since he was involved, I am sure his contribution has at least in part contributed to the success of the Norwich Lanes as it is now.
“He was a fantastic husband and loving father. We all will miss him every day. Thank you to everyone who has been so kind to us.”
The Norwich Lanes area has long been considered the backbone of the city with dozens of independent stores tucked down side streets and cobbled roads.
In 2006, the Norwich Lanes Traders’ Association was created to help unite the shop owners.
Mr Rowe was chairman of the association from 2007 to 2009. In that time he helped launch the Norwich Lanes map and ensured the voice of the Norwich Lanes was heard.
His body was found at about 3.20pm on Monday, November 19.
An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned on Monday this week.
Those who worked with and knew Mr Rowe, said they were shocked and saddened to hear of his death.
Shona Richards, on behalf of the Norwich Lanes committee, said: “Clive was instrumental in the development of the Norwich Lanes Traders Association.
“He took an initial idea from a few of the surrounding businesses and developed it into the formal organisation it is today.
“His immense dedication carried the Lanes Association through the initial teething problems that come through setting up a new association and representing a large number of businesses.
“Without Clive’s passion Norwich Lanes would not be the thriving success it is today. Clive was truly a champion of the independent and boutique sector in Norwich.”
Richard Parker, who runs Boats n Bits and was the treasurer of the association when Mr Rowe was chairman, said: “Clive was instrumental in putting in place the structure that has now become the Norwich Lanes, contributing a huge amount of his own free time selflessly to ensure the vision for getting Norwich’s independent businesses to promote themselves in a successful way. It is a great loss to everyone that knew him.”
Richard Harvey, from the Good Earth Clothing Company in Pottergate, who was vice chairman during Mr Rowe’s time as chairman, described him as a “tremendous hard-worker” and a “born organiser” who helped get the Norwich Lanes known to a wider audience.
Murray Walker, who runs Rock Collection in Lower Goat Lane with his wife Mo, said: “We’ve known Clive since 2004 when we first moved into Norwich Lanes.
“He was a great man to work with both professionally and socially. He worked extremely hard and was a pleasure to know. His death is a very big shock.”
Wayne Persinger, from Captain America’s in Exchange Street, added: “Clive was very active, proactive, committed and dedicated to the formation of the Lanes and the subsequent development of the Lanes.
“He spent an untold number of hours volunteering his time to make sure the Lanes got off to a good start.”
Mr Rowe’s funeral will be private and for family and close friends only. As he was a keen sailor and loved the sea, his family is asking for any donations be made to the RNLI. Donations can be made directly to the charity via the website www.rnli.org.
Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Rowe? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.