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Much-loved H&H reporter Penny Richardson dies from cancer

Tributes have flooded in from across the equestrian world to “legendary” H&H showjumping reporter and former showjumping editor Penny Richardson, who died yesterday (9 November).

Penny, a well-known and much-loved figure at shows across the country, was diagnosed with cancer in October.

Having worked as show secretary at Towerlands equestrian centre in Essex, she started at H&H as a temp.

Former H&H assistant editor and deputy editor Pippa Cuckson said: “Her enviable enormous knowledge of the sport and natural journalistic talent soon made the position very permanent indeed.

“Penny is best known to many as a showjumping specialist but her attention to detail, love of language and dedicated fact-checking meant she also spent many years on the staff in London as H&H chief sub-editor. She demanded even higher standards of herself out in the field as a reporter.

“In this age of the tweet and short soundbite, Penny was a reminder of the sort of journalist we all should aspire to be.”

Top riders have shared their memories of Penny, including Jay Halim, who had known her since he was a child.

“I’ve grown up with her being at shows,” he told H&H. “I loved her. I alway used to take the mickey out of her by calling her the stalker, and say she was in every nook and cranny of the showground.

“She was one of a kind; there aren’t many like her, and she was so passionate about the sport.”

Jay said he remembers Penny’s enthusiasm and support for riders’ achievements.

“She really cared,” he said. “She’s a legend, there aren’t many like her.”

Robert Whitaker said he had known Penny since his pony days.

“She was always helpful, and such a nice lady to have at shows,” he said. “I think all the comments on Facebook speak for themselves.”

Current H&H showjumping editor Jennifer Donald said Penny was the first person she sat next to when she joined Horse & Hound.

“She became a constant source of inspiration, support and friendship over the years,” she said. “I quickly discovered that Penny’s knowledge of the sport was encyclopedic and her eye for a horse was impeccable; if she picked out a young horse as ‘one to watch’ in her reports, you knew it was destined for greatness.

“She championed up-and-coming riders, too, and the familiar sight of Penny standing ringside with her pen and notebook in hand is going to be hugely missed.

“The showjumping world brought her such joy, both as a competitor in her younger days and later when it became a career that she was so passionate about and devoted to. The support that the equestrian community showed when she revealed her illness last month simply blew her away and gave her great strength during her final weeks.

“She also loved National Hunt racing, owning small shares in several racehorses who brought her immense pleasure. One of her last investments was in a four-year-old called Gold Link, trained by Emma Lavelle, and she was so excited by his first run over hurdles a couple of weeks ago. I hope we can all cheer him home in her memory, she would be chuffed to bits.”

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