Obituary: Judith Walker MBE

A celebration of life was held for Judith Walker MBE on January 7 at a packed St Mary’s Church, Cheveley.

Mrs Walker, who died at St Nicholas’ Hospice Care, Bury St Edmunds, on December 21, 2012 after a long illness with leukaemia, was 68.

Born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in 1944, she had a sister, Pat, and moved to Stetchworth to work for Anne Hammond at the renowned Millfields Riding School. She was instrumental in starting one of the first riding groups for disabled children in 1962, which was later to become part of the now internationally recognised Riding for the Disabled Association, and to which she became an advisor.

She married Alan Walker in 1965 and moved to Derisley Wood Stud where she trained Benita Allen and her elite show ponies, later training her to European event standard.

She always carried on with the Riding for the Disabled, and in 1987 became the first travelling head coach for the Disabled World Championships in Sweden where two gold medals out of a possible four were won. She also went to the USA and Belgium Special Olympic Games.

In 1996 she won the Women of Achievement award for services to Riding for the Disabled and in the same year was presented with an MBE by the Queen. She also became one of the chief lecturers at the College of West Anglia where she stayed until she retired with ill health.

Her long fight against leukaemia was met with the same attitude that she applied to the rest of her life, always determined and positive, winning many battles along the way, showing her usual great inner strength to the end.

Mrs Walker, who touched many lives, is survived by her husband, Alan.

The Rev Mike Banyard officiated at the services held at West Suffolk Crematorium, Risby, and at St Mary’s Church.

Family mourners were: Alan Walker (widower), Pat Monaghan, Terry Monaghan, Lisa and Andrew Street, Tracy and Tony Hulatt, Debbie and Darren Monaghan-Bentley, Gareth and Gail Pursey, Jane Pursey and Fin Burton, and Helen, Dave and Jake Wheaton.

Other mourners were: Sandra Clarke (rep Paul Clarke), Rose Blasbery (Jackie Blasbery), Tony Elves (Brian McQuaid and Jimmy Thompson), Stan Ashton, Sheila Ashton, Pauline Hartley, Jean Lywood, Janette McGinn (Bob Champion), Judy and Billy Gaskin, Denis, Mavis and Helen Bishop, Sue Merry (Pat Merry), Andrew Hall, David Milnes (Racing Post), Mitchell Schofield, Rachel Rose, John Whittington, Kathy Dean, Barbara Robinson, John and Angela Wilson, David and Liz Parker, Susan Maskelyne, Julie Cecil, Noel Cecil, Judy Burroughes (Buckenham House RDA, Norfolk), Ruth Harrison, Tara and Kathryn McGennity, Carol Shepherd, Lorraine Webster, Jenny Webster, Helen Brennan, Claire Mann, Mick and Brenda Marshall, Fay Whitehouse, Sheena Petts, Priscilla Astley, Rossie Theobald (Newton Hall Equitation Centre), Anne Wells, Catherine Cutmore (family), Linda Porter-Cohen, Kevin Pallant (Michaela Saxby and Bev Wing), Jill Reynolds (Jack Reynolds), Caroline Prince, Peter Drayton, Maureen Drayton, Craig and Becky Delanoy, Bob Booth, Daphne Baldwin (Joe Gilbert), Judith Loversidge, Cynthia Fleet (Ron Fleet), Lisa Moore, Sara Williams, Peter and Marie Ashman, Maria Loughran, Charlotte O’Brien, Mike Fox, Nicki Rutter (Keith Rutter), Fiona Andrews (Jason Weaver), Rita Andrews, Elspeth Firebrace, Philippa Hamilton (Cambridgeshire RDA Groups), Val Parker, Heather Campbell (South Cambridgeshire RDA Group), Pamela Hutt (Jane Carter), Simone and Philippe Berthelon, Lesley Greensmith, James and Margaret Cunningham, Bob Jonas (Val Jonas), Dudley Thompson, John Smith, Ruby Smith, Emma and Bud Chapman (Apollo Stables), Barbara Davis, Jan Reed, Dale and Sue Jeffery, Elizabeth Langley (Kate Clark), Frances Wheatley, Naomi Palmer, Shirley Reeder, Carolyn Hall (Suffolk County RDA), Shirley Green, Dr Philippa Thody, Christine Stone (East Region RDA), Sue Diggins, Hannah Mayes (Association of British Riding Schools), Jane Jarvis, Marion Marsh, Frank and Christine Avison, Aijie Zhang, Carolyn Eddery, Angela Reeder, Bryan Housden, Clem and Mary Tompsett (Soham Pony Club), Jo, Noel, Megan, Jack and Jessica Quinlan, Jacquie Warner, Julie Rivers (Newmarket Macmillan Cancer Support Committee), Maya Morriss, Veronica Hodgett (Robert Potts), Judy Carrick (Malcolm Cole), Angela Kiteley (John Kiteley), Cyril Kelly, V Parke, Penny Rowe, Emily and Michael Cullum, Auriol and Richard Wilson, Jim Hiner (Worlington Riding Club), Mike and Jane Smith (Lucinda McClure, Emma and Hayden Marsh), Elaine Brown (Vanessa North), David Ringer (Jack Ringer, Mrs D Ringer and Helen Clow-Wilson), Malcolm Brown (Sue Howard), Caroline Wilson, Graham Paxton, Kay Paxton, Jill Reed (Charles Reed and Kate Reed), Evelyn King (Lucy), Jean Evans (Sally and Ian Campbell-Gray, West Suffolk RDA), Mandy Salter, Gilly Roper, John Boreham, Lisa Blyth, Gill Rowbury, Elizabeth Turner (Vi Skipp), Wendy Fox (Andrew and Rachel Fox), Doug, Penny, Katherine and Michael Day, Pat Woodman, Susan Wicks, Anne Rolinson (Frank Rolinson), Catherine Sharman, Sheila and Tina Layton (Contessa Riding Centre), Derek and Jenny Woollard (family), Bobbie Aughton (Thetford Chase Pony Club), Alison Barber and Abigail McClure (Suffolk Hunt Pony Club and College of West Anglia, Milton), Hugh Helliwell, John and Wendy Godfrey, Patricia Cobby, Janet and Mel Hughes, Diane Lawtey, Louise Taylor (Vicky Lewis and Sophie Miller), Gay Redman (Cambridgeshire College RDA), Garry Thomas (Lynda Thomas), David and Migs Hutton, Biddy Brasted-Watts, Sue Hollingsworth, Mark Hollingsworth, Anna Wilks, Paul, Alex and Tom Winter, Jessamy Saltmarsh (Newmarket RDA and Pete Cornish), Sandra Gibson (Heather Tilbrook), Jane Lewin Smith (Miss A Shuckburgh and Mr J Wallis), John Ruskin (Gina and Tony, The Old Plough), Jenny Phillips Campbell, Katy Holder-Vale, Dominic and Jane Gibson, Popsie and Tom Lethbridge, Jill Butler, Jenny Dines, Sarah Cummings, Hazel Brown, David Comper, Michelle Comper, Tony Ashpole (Mary Ashpole, Mark and Sue Ashpole and Anita Wilson), Hollesley Group RDA (John Anderson and Amy Anderson), Valerie Ward (Christopher, Nicola and Piers Day), Anna Hallam (Colin and Suzannah Hallam), Helen Bourghe, Jean Bucknell, David Goodwin, Mandy Bassett, Doreen Williamson, Penny Mackenson, Maureen and Ozzy Osborne, Dave Osborne, Mathew Coles (Caroline Coles) and Bella Craven (Peterborough RDA).