January 2021 News
It is with regret and sadness that I inform Club members of the passing of three former Club members / friends. The Committee and I would like to offer our condolences to the families and friends of Barry Marshall, Pat Sowerby and Brigid Longley.
Barry Marshall, married to Leonie, was a larger-than life former Olympic Dressage rider who came to be such a part of the carriage driving scene through his family and coaching work. I will always remember him fondly for being at the carriage driving events, glass of red wine in hand and a cheery word for everyone. I will think of him now as the Cheshire Cat – his smile will continue for a long time!
Pat Sowerby, married to Jenny, was driving and competing when I started driving horses in the 1990s. He was active within the Club particularly when events were held at the rented fields near Linton which was relatively close to his home. Towards the end of his time driving, memory issues had begun to impact upon his route choices, which was later diagnosed at the onset of Alzheimer’s. Always enthusiastic, sometimes abrupt but always willing to promote the sport and help newcomers.
Brigid Longley, known to some of the older Club members, (not me unfortunately). She is fondly remembered by Barrie Luck, our President, who contributed his memories at her funeral service. Barrie recalled Brigid singing carols from the carriage along unlit streets to her farm using just candles in the lamps. Another occasion, they met the Orient Express at Maidstone Station to collect Council dignitaries using carriages from the Museum in Maidstone. There was also a story about Brigid competing near Edinburgh with her horse Seamus and getting eliminated on the cross-country course when meeting a team of horses who had taken a wrong turn. I am sorry not to have known such a character.
Terry Chambers, owner of Ashfields Polo and Carriage Driving Centre. And whilst not a club member, Terry’s contribution towards the driving fraternity went along way to keep the sport moving forward. It was at Ashfields in 2020 that 2 events were able to run, despite COVID restrictions. Many Club members will have been at Ashfields over the years either to compete, spectate or steward. Terry was always hospitable, friendly and welcoming. He will be missed.
On a lighter note, I can confirm that the Christmas Indoor event scheduled last month at Saddlesdane and cancelled due to COVID19 lockdown restrictions has now been moved to Tuesday 21 December 2021. It will be a cones and obstacle fun event. Details, schedule and entry form to follow.
I do not know what events the Club will be able to offer Members and friends in 2021 at the time of writing. It is difficult to plan major events at the moment. However, if some Club activity is permitted, I hope to offer more “have a go” training events at Old Hay near Paddock Wood from April onwards.
Chairman, Weald Harness Club