Sheila Berry 1925–2010
Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, UK
There are not many people who have given so much of their time and expertise to the equestrian world over the last 50 years as Sheila Berry, who sadly died on 18th January 2010.
She started her service to equestrianism in 1963 by running the Ludlow Hunt Pony Club camp canteen on Ludlow racecourse. She soon became secretary and eventually District Commissioner and during that time she was very proud of her team of girls, including her daughter Dinah and her team of boys which included her son Adam and Kit Dwerryhouse who now commentates at many BE events. She was awarded the Guy Cubitt Award for Outstanding Service to the Pony Club in 1990.
She started her first Horse Trials for the BHS back in the late 60's at Kinlet Hall, which was one of the best events in the country at that time. When this ceased she founded the Downton Castle event in 1985 which ran until 1989. Next came the Ferney Hall event which ran until 1995. For the last 12 years she has been organising the Berrington Hall event and had already visited the new site of the Homme House event which is starting in 2010; she was very excited at the prospect of a new event. Not only did she organise these events but she also supported other local events with her start team including starters and time-keepers, so I know she will be very sorely missed by many other organisers.
In the 1970's she was the instigator in getting the modern day skull cap developed and into everyday use. She became the Chairman of the BHS Health and Safety Committee, a post she held for many years becoming heavily involved in improving riding safety and also as an examiner for riding and road safety not just in the UK but also in Ireland and Cyprus. She campaigned tirelessly for better hat and body protector standards throughout this time and became a representative for BHTA on the BSI protective headgear committee in 1998. In 1996 she was awarded the Sefton Award for services to the cause of equestrian safety and had also been awarded the BHS Award of Merit in 1992 for excellent service to the British Horse Society.
She was treasurer of the Ludlow Hunt with her husband Selwyn for 25 years and had only recently retired from this position. She loved her hunting and eventually gave up in her early 70's after many years with the Ludlow and the Clifton hunts.
She was also very involved in the local community and worked hard on the Parish Council as well as on the local Parochial Church Council and, as with everything that she did, she gave 110%.
During the war, while a WREN, she worked at Bletchley Park in the deciphering section helping to break the Enigma Code. Last September it was the 60th anniversary and it coincided with Cleobury Horse Trials where she has always organised the start team. In Sheila's inimitable style she did not want to let down her start team but wanted to take part in the celebrations and receive her medal. So she did the first day in the start box at Cleobury, then drove herself all the way to Bletchley having 'googled' her map off the internet, then was back in the caravan for the 3rd day - I don't think that there would be many 84 year olds that could or would have done that! She was a truly remarkable lady and will be very much missed by everyone that knew and loved her.
She leaves a daughter and son. Another daughter died in early childhood.
The funeral will be on Wednesday, 3rd February at 12 noon at Stoke Bliss Church, postcode WR15 8QJ. Dontations can be made in Sheila's memory at www.justgiving.com/sheilaberry
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