RIP Sheila Campbell

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:37

Sheila Campbell, a well-known and respected stalwart of the equestrian community from Cumbria and Lancashire, died on Sunday 28 January aged 90 years.

Of Scottish descent and with a resolute, yet kindly and welcoming nature, she was first married to Jim Hallam and they lived in Blundellsands, near Liverpool. A lifelong interest in horses saw their three children and ponies move from their large townhouse to Rookery Farm, near Parbold, Lancashire in the early 1970s.

It wasn’t long before the riding fraternity began to appreciate Sheila’s leadership skills and she soon found herself Chair of West Lancashire Riding Club and subsequently Chair of the wider Northern Liaison Group of Riding Clubs. Her keen and developing interest in dressage saw her become a qualified dressage judge, which carried respect as at the time there were few such individuals.

A highlight of the Northern Liaison Group season was its organisation of the Haydock Park Dressage Festival in the late 1970s, which was easily the largest of its kind in the in the North West. With characteristic determination and energy, Sheila took on the mammoth task of the organisation. With ten dressage arenas and classes from Preliminary to Prix St Georges, the competitors came from across the country.

Over the next few decades, the horse trials world and The Pony Club took much of her time, especially when undaunted, she took on the role of District Commissioner for the Wheelton Branch of The Pony Club, then the Lancaster and District Branch. Following the untimely death of her husband Jim, Sheila moved to Penrith in Cumbria with her second husband David Campbell, where she became District Commissioner of The Cumberland Farmers Hunt South Branch of The Pony Club.

Many a lesser person would have made this their all, but Sheila continued to attend many of the northern British Horse Society and subsequently British Eventing affiliated horse trials. There were further roles for someone so organised and reliably proficient, amongst these the Chief Dressage Steward and Chief Scoring Steward for the long-running Brougham Horse Trials were also assigned to her, in addition to Holker Hall Horse Trial dressage duties.

Enjoying the equestrian scene was a great pleasure and Sheila followed daughter Anne and second son Chris around the many events when they were competing. A stickler for turnout and tradition, she also officiated with the Driving Trials dressage section at the great Lowther Show near Penrith for many years and in between all these roles, fitted in the responsibilities required of her as British Horse Society Dressage Representative for the county.

With such a wide knowledge of horses she bred five generations from Sec D Welsh Cob ‘Maelog Marlene’, producing offspring including The Rani and The Reiver (pictured with Sheila) by the Crackenthorpe Stud stallion Pentagon, with The Rani subsequently producing her a foal by another Crackenkenthorpe sire, Crackenthorpe Formula One.

However it was her long running annual trips to Burghley Horse Trials in September every year which allowed her to see those few young riders who eventually make it to the top of the sport and it was a joy for her to see the likes of Ruth Edge and Jeanette Brakewell doing so well. 

She also had interests beyond the horse world and she was involved with the WI (Women’s Institute), the U3A (University of Third Age) and was a keen Bridge player. Her last dressage judging engagement was just two years ago at Aske Horse Trials, aged 88.

She is survived by her daughter and son.

There will be a service of thanksgiving on Monday 12 February at 1.00pm at Carlisle Crematorium, Cumbria. Donations to the Air Ambulance.