In memoriam: Helen Webber 1929 - 2018

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 23 Jan 2018 14:13 GMT

The funeral of Helen Webber, who recently passed away aged 88, will take place on Friday 9 February at 4:45pm at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Balcombe Road, Crawley RH10 3NQ, and afterwards at the Copthorne Hotel, London Gatwick RH10 3PG.

Helen, who was a retired List 1 Judge, Judges Committee member, Junior and Young Rider Selector and BHS examiner, will be greatly missed within the equestrian community. Former Chief Selector for Juniors and Young Riders, Sally Merrison, paid tribute to her great friend; “Helen was always fair, always honest and had so much integrity. Everyone respected her, and she always instilled laughter, pleasure and straightness within the Under-21s community.”

Helen led a remarkably full life. Passionate about horses as a child, her love of them stemmed from an early encounter with the horse that pulled the milk wagon. From a non-horsey yet supportive family, she was evacuated from Surrey to Canada during the War, separating her from her beloved pony, Felicity. Helen continued to ride in Canada and coincidentally met BD Vice President Desi Dillingham’s parents who were active in helping young riders in the War years.

Helen returned to England in 1945 and later married an Argyll Sutherland Highlander resulting in a move to Scotland. By the time her daughters Dale and Sue were born she was living in Malaya. There she added to her equestrian experience doing some amateur flat racing. Other postings followed and eventually the Webbers were stationed back in Scotland.

During this era Eventing was in its infancy and when Helen’s marriage broke up she found solace in the new sport. Later returning with her children to Surrey, she entered teacher training college and also took her BHSAI at Westerham. Although horses were relegated to part time, Helen continued to teach at Westerham as well as going on to compete successfully.

in 1964 she became a Fellow of the British Horse Society and enjoyed study periods in Germany and at the Cadre Noir in Saumur. Dressage took over from Eventing and Helen impressively trained a variety of horses, some of whom were unsuited to the job, up to and including Grand Prix.

Helen retired from her role as a school teacher in her mid-50s allowing her time to chair the examinations part of the British Horse Society’s Examinations and Training sub-committee, fulfil her duty as a List 1 Judge and, later, play a vital role as Selector for Juniors and Young Riders. Helen continued to judge and ride her loaned Connemara pony until the age of 84.

British Dressage expresses sincere condolences to Helen’s daughters Dale and Sue, her grandchildren, and to her many friends.

Helen is pictured with BD vice president Desi Dillingham receiving a volunteer award in 2001.

PLEASE NOTE: the funeral time has been updated on 07/02/18 from 1.30pm to 4.45pm.