One of the 20th century’s most popular huntsmen, Jack Champion, died aged 89 on 13 February in a Sussex nursing home.

As huntsman of the Old Surrey and Burstow for 38 years, Jack knew his country intimately. Ever cheerful, he was an exceptional horseman who crossed the country with dash and style – generations were grateful for the sheer funof hunting with him. He had great hound control and was adept at casting them forward at speed to find a fox already running from covert.

Before the war, he hunted the Fernie hounds, and began hunting the Old Surrey and Burstow hounds in 1947. Jack was still hunting with verve up to his 70th year. For services to recreation he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

The last huntsman from generations in his family, he was predeceased by his brothers Nimrod and Bob Champion, huntsmen of the Ledbury and West Kent respectively. His nephew Bob Champion is famous for winning the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti.

He is survived by his daughters Pamela and Ann, and sons Bridger and Billy.