Robert Mackenzie, the former British Eventing (BE) regional director for the South West, died on 13 March, aged 75.
Mr Mackenzie grew up in Dorset, and served with The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars. He reached the rank of captain and served in Cyprus, Germany and Canada. In 1972 he met his wife Mandy at a regiment ball in Germany.
Following his retirement from the army in 1977, Mr Mackenzie went into the brewing and hospitality industry. He held senior positions at a number of breweries, and was a main board director for Hall and Woodhouse.
Mr and Mrs Mackenzie welcomed two children, Emily and Rupert. Both evented, and when Mr Mackenzie retired from hospitality he became involved with BE. He played a pivotal role in the south-west in growing the membership and the competition calendar, at a time when BE was still in its formative years.
When he stepped back in 2010, he handed the reins over to Andrew Fell, but remained involved as a BE steward. He was presented with BE lifetime membership in 2018 in recognition of his commitment and contribution to the sport. He was incredibly well respected and liked throughout the eventing community.
BE chief executive Helen West grew up with Emily and said that throughout her eventing career Mr Mackenzie was “such a familiar figure” on the south-west circuit, officiating and then in his regional director role as the “interface” between organisers and BE.
“Robert stewarded for me at Bicton numerous times in both national and FEI positions when I was in my early days as an organiser, and he was such a support to me. More recently we enjoyed seeing him out watching his grandchildren compete. My heartfelt thoughts go out to Robert’s wife Mandy and daughter Emily along with the rest of his family; he will be greatly missed,” she said.
Andrew Fell added that Robert was “hugely influential” to the development of the sport in the south-west.
“He was always hugely supportive to both organisers and officials. His knowledge and advice will be greatly missed,” he said.
Mr Mackenzie is survived by Mandy, Emily, Rupert, and grandchildren Jonny, George and Eve.
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