ROMSEY residents are mourning the loss of one of their own, Rex Trayhorne, a man known by many as the ‘heart of the town’.

Rex, a much beloved husband, father and friend to many died peacefully on Thursday, July 14, aged 90, after living an ‘exceptional life’.

Berkshire-born Rex trained as a technical illustrator and, in his early years, worked for British European Airways, the Atomic Energy Authority and various advertising agencies.

Later he taught at Southampton College of Art and worked as a freelance – his last contract was with IBM Hursley.

He then became a full-time professional artist. His skills in graphic design, airbrushing and photo-retouching, used in technical and architectural illustrations, were developed well before the arrival of computer aids.

This influenced many of his paintings, which exhibit realism and often intricate detail while still showing strong artistic interpretation.

Rex produced paintings which range from expressive watercolours to exquisite miniatures. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painters, The Tate Gallery, The Medici Gallery and the Royal Miniature Society and, in 1989, he was elected a member in recognition of his work.

Since 1965 he was a prominent member of Romsey Art Group and the Mountbatten Gallery in Lee. He organised the Wessex Artists Exhibitions in Salisbury for over twenty-five years.

In 1998, then 67, he spent countless days filming a year-long documentary of life in Romsey featuring all aspects of local people and events – a valuable record of those times. This project also raised funds for Romsey Hospital.

Rex wrote magazine articles, appeared on television, held watercolour courses and raised funds for many local charities – too numerous to list.

He was a founder member of the Rotary Club of Romsey Test and in 1990 was awarded ‘Honorary Membership’ of the Rotary movement. He was also a very active member and President of the Romsey Abbey Probus Club.

Rex had a long-standing association with Romsey Abbey. He was confirmed there in 1996 and, in 2000, celebrated 25 years of marriage to his wife and fellow artist, Geraldine, in a thanksgiving service conducted by Canon Crawford-Jones.

For each of the past thirty years he produced a unique Christmas card with an appropriate Romsey winter scene mostly featuring Romsey Abbey - whenever possible encased in snow.

In 2010 Rex’s painting of Romsey Abbey was used on special edition postage stamps as well as on a vast range of well-known postcards and calendars featuring local scenes. One of his most striking works is the detailed view of the interior of the Abbey that took a month to produce. It is now one of the most popular cards on sale.

With his wife, Geraldine, Rex lived in central Romsey for 34 years. His family have said he loved the town, the Abbey and the many friends made there.

He made great contributions to the local artistic community, local organisations and raised funds for local charities. All testament to a life well lived.

His funeral will take place in Romsey Abbey on Monday, August 15 at 1.30pm. Rex’s family have asked for people to donate to Wessex Heartbeat or Romsey Abbey PCC rather than buying flowers. Donations can be made via

Written by John Scarborough