ONE of Tasmania's stalwart harness racing identities Eric Bean died yesterday aged 79.
His outstanding contribution to Tasmanian harness racing was acknowledged in 2008 when he was awarded the ultimate accolade - the Edgar Tatlow Medal.
Eric Bean's interest in harness racing began in 1953 when he was courting a young lady (his wife Claire) whose family, the Bullocks, owned and trained pacers.
Eighteen months after they married Claire's father passed away and Eric took over the training of two horses. He retained his trainers licence until 2006.
His best horses were Chamfers Return, which won 12 races in Tasmania and many more after being sold to WA, and Karen Cross, a winner of 7 races. His last winner was Zoeana at Scottsdale in 1990.
He was a licensed driver from 1959 to 1974 with his sole winner being Speedy Office at Elphin in 1973. He retired from driving stating others were much better than him.
Bean joined the St Marys Trotting Club committee in 1958 and accepted the Secretary position in 1960 "until you can find someone else".
He held the position until 2012 - 52 consecutive years. He was quick to acknowledge the assistance he received from Claire and his extended family from a personal and club perspective.
Bean was awarded Life Membership of the St Marys Trotting Club in 1982 and received the Meritorious Service Award from Harness Racing Tasmania in 1991.
The St Marys Pacing Club has raced continuously on New Years Day for 126 years.
The race meeting is an integral part of the East Coast (Tasmania) social calendar.