In memoriam: Ann Cutcliffe OBE, 1943-2023

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 12 May 2023 12:12 GMT

It is with great sadness that British Dressage has learned of the passing of Honorary Vice President of the British Paralympic Association, Ann Cutcliffe OBE - a leading light in the world of para sport, and one of the most influential figures in leading Great Britain to its prominent position within Para Dressage.

Ann Cutcliffe OBE

A former Vice Chairman of the British Paralympic Association, and a true advocate of the power of Paralympic sport, Ann’s involvement arose when she joined South Bucks RDA in 1977. Soon after, she became an RDA (Riding for the Disabled) instructor and was an inspiration and joy to all the riders that she taught. 

Her involvement expanded to encompass every aspect of the sport. From those riding for therapy through the RDA to para athletes competing on the world stage, countless riders have flourished under Ann’s tireless support and leadership. She was Chef d’Equipe for the gold medal-winning British team at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and chief selector for Athens 2004, where once again the team brought home gold.

Ann held many central roles in the Para Equestrian world. She was a British Paralympic Association (BPA) board member from 2001 until 2013 and was also involved in many charities including WheelPower and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. She was a board member for Riding for the Disabled, a member of the International Paralympic Para Equestrian Committee, and served on the British Dressage Para Committee for numerous years.

Ann was awarded an OBE for Services to Para Equestrian Sport in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list. The following year she was involved with London 2012’s Cultural and International Inspiration programme, having been part of the 2012 Cultural Committee during the bid process for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

BD List 2A Judge, and FEI Para Judge and Steward, Chris Porterfield commented: “Ann was a lady by nature and a lady in her demeanour, she was always gracious, and she was very good at persuading people and getting the very best out of them.

“It was Ann together with Inger Bryant and Jonquil Solt who really pushed the para movement forward, eventually leading to Para Dressage becoming an FEI discipline in 2006. She was an inspiration to so many and we owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”

The British Dressage Board and staff offer sincerest condolences to Ann’s husband Peter and her family and friends. She will be greatly missed and warmly remembered by so many within para dressage and para sport as a whole.