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Phillipa Mary Francis – Obituary

Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 by Heather Dodd

Many in the equine world will have been shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely death from cancer on September 28 of Pippa Francis, aged 58.

Pippa was a BHSI, BHS examiner from 1989 to 2003,  BD dressage judge, Programme Area Manager at Warwickshire College for Equine and Farriery, Secretary/Treasurer of the F & I Association from 1995/2000 and from 2003 a schools and colleges inspector with OFSTED.

Pippa passed her BHSAI in 1976 – the same year as Patrick Print FBHS.

Two years later she obtained her BHSII and in 1983 her BHSI.

Lorna Walters BHSI recalls that in 1983 she spent 11 months with Iris Kellett the legendary Irish international showjumper and her husband John Hall FBHS (both now deceased) at their celebrated equestrian centre near Dublin. It was here that Lorna met Pippa who was working there, preparing students for BHS exams and competing her own horse Felix and John Hall’s Rowanstown in dressage.

On return to the UK, Pippa started lecturing at Warwickshire College, becoming Programme Area Manager in charge of Equine and Farriery.

“She was an excellent manager,” Dr Richard Pearce, who worked with Pippa affirms. She was not afraid to make decisions, to stand by them and you knew where you stood with her.”

I first met Pippa when examining at a BHS Stage 2 exam. I wanted to pass a jumping candidate. Pippa didn’t and I lost the argument!!

As a manager at Warwickshire College, Pippa was perceptive and supportive, always approachable and any advice given helpful and valid. The department ran smoothly and staff knew their roles and responsibilities.

One of the horses Pippa trained, Minnow, is still at Warwickshire College today. Many successful BHS Stage 3 and 4 show jumping candidates who sat their exams at Moreton Morrell probably owe their pass in this section to Minnow.

Bunkey Villa, the grey ex racehorse Pippa competed successfully at BD had established flying changes and the look of sheer joy on students’ faces as they felt their first flying change on Bunkey is lasting testament to Pippa’s training skill.

Carole Broad FBHS said:” She sat for a while on Q & T (BHS exams advisory group) and could always be relied on to see both sides of the coin. She was such a kind, gentle person who was also extremely professional.”

However Pippa had a marked career change in 2003 when she joined OFSTED as an inspector. The December 2014 Ofsted Chief Inspector’s Annual Report noted Pippa’s Doctorate in Education (gained while with Ofsted) with research interests in pedagogy in further education and noted that she “regularly leads college inspections and also inspects secondary schools.”

In 2013/14 Pippa led a national survey on teaching, learning and assessment across the further education and skills sector, published in September 2014.

Thus Pippa’s contribution to the education sector was as significant as her contribution to the equine world. Both spheres have benefited from the influence of a dignified professional with integrity and strong moral values.

PS Donations for Cancer Research UK and/or Macmillan Cancer Support can be sent to Peasgood & Skeates, Shire Hill, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 3AQ

Nick Skelton honoured at British Showjumping Ball

Posted on Friday, October 7, 2016 by Heather Dodd


Warwickshire’s Olympic Individual Gold Medallist Nick Skelton was honoured with the British Showjumping Award at this year’s British Showjumping Awards Ball 2016.

Tuesday 4th October saw the annual British Showjumping Awards Ball take place at the St Johns Hotel, Solihull. The evening saw in excess of 400 guests celebrate with the extremely worthy nominees and winners from grass roots competitors through to those that achieved podium success including Nick Skelton OBE who won Individual Gold at the Rio Olympic Games this summer.

The winners were:

Leading Pony Rider of the Year
Jack Whitaker from Whatton, Nottingham

Leading Children on Horses of the Year
Sienna Charles from Alton, Hampshire

Leading Junior Rider of the Year
Harry Charles from Alton, Hampshire

Leading Young Rider of the Year
Tim Wilks who is based in Oxfordshire

Top Level Team Grooms Award
Mark Beever (Groom to Nick Skelton)

UKCC Coach of the Year
Corinne Bracken from Aldershot, Hampshire

British Breeders Award
John Roberts, West Yorkshire (for Spirit T)

International Stairway League Winner
Helen Tredwell from Finmere, Buckinghamshire on Larksong

National Champion
Robert Smith from Shrewley, Warwickshire

Horse & Owner of the Year
Big Star owned by Gary & Beverley Widdowson

British Showjumping Award
Nick Skelton from Alcester, Warwickshire

British Showjumping would like to take this opportunity to thank their sponsors, supporters, nominees and guests who made the evening possible and also the team who worked on the event to make it such a memorable one.

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