‘We always have her voice in our heads’: tributes to young eventer, as nearly £250,000 raised for cancer research in her memory

  • Tributes have been paid to a young event rider, known for her “remarkable character”, who has died from a rare cancer aged 30 – nearly £250,000 has been raised for neuroendocrine cancer research in her memory.

    Wiltshire-based Miranda Filmer died on 10 June, having been diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in 2017.

    Miranda was a much-loved member of the equestrian community, and spent periods working for eventers including William Fox-Pitt, Polly Williamson, Mike and Emma Winter, and Gubby Leech.

    Miranda Filmer, pictured, died from neuroendocrine cancer aged 30

    Miranda and Fernhill Fissa

    Following her diagnosis, Miranda continued to ride and compete. Having already achieved a degree in geography, she also began studying for a post-graduate degree, an equine master of science by research, under the guidance of Meriel Moore-Colyer at the Royal Agricultural University. During the pandemic she interviewed for Giles Anderson of horseracing publishing firm Anderson & Co Publishing. Struck by Miss Filmer’s “can-do attitude, intelligence and willingness to learn”, the company offered her a job. She worked actively for Giles until a few days before she died.

    Tributes have been paid to Miranda, who has been described as “one of a kind”.

    “She absolutely lived for eventing and her passion for equine sport, her will to compete and her devotion to her horses was relentless. Her father Charles told me in her last few days she was trying to teach him how to leg-wrap and which horses should run with which boots at events this summer,” said Giles.

    “She was an incredibly endearing soul, and an incredibly gifted young person who was destined to go far in whatever she did in her life.”

    Gubby said Miranda was a “remarkable character”, of whom he had very fond memories.

    “She was absolutely lovely and a very determined young lady,” he said. “She loved her horses and was so open to learning and working hard – she thrived in that environment. We always kept in touch and I would see her at events. It’s incredibly shocking that she’s no longer here, and she will be sorely missed.”

    Mike said Miranda “rose to every challenge” and she was a “pleasure to be around”.

    Miranda and Fernhill Fissa

    “Family was so important to Miranda. No matter what she always made sure she had time to go hunting with her father Charles, or go to one of mother Antonia’s yoga retreats. As a family they all just rallied behind each other,” he said.

    “It’s very rare you come across someone like Miranda. She had goals, but she always did it because she truly loved horses and the sport. People like Miranda remind you of what’s important – she really embodies why we should be doing it; to enjoy the sport, enjoy the animals and enjoy time with our families.”

    To date Charles and Antonia have raised nearly £250,000 for a neuroendocrine cancer research project in her memory, via the Royal Free Charity in London. Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are considered rare and the illness has been described as the “quiet cancer”, as it often presents late and advanced.

    The project, led by neuroendocrine specialist Professor Martyn Caplin, will explore “crucial” gaps in NETs research and it is hoped better personalised treatments can be developed in the future.

    “By better understanding the presentation of fast-growing tumours, using genomic profiling, this project will explore in detail the differences in the NET cancer cells within a patient, why some of the cells are more aggressive than others, and why the cancer cells show a tendency to change their structure, and therefore their response to the available treatment,” said the Filmer family.

    “The aim is to improve the prediction of treatment efficacy, which is lacking, and for therapeutic decision-making to directly influence prognosis.”

    Charles said his daughter was an “extraordinary human being”.

    “She was equine mad, but also very gifted academically. What she accomplished in her 30 years and never to complain about cancer is simply remarkable. She didn’t want to be defined by the disease and she wasn’t afraid of dying. She told us ‘I’ve had more fun than anyone could, and I don’t want everybody to be miserable about my death’,” said Charles.

    “Miranda and I built a new arena last year and one of the things she said was ‘Dad I don’t want to imagine an arena full of weeds after I’m gone’. My reply was ‘Miranda, I was in the army, I promise it will never be full of weeds’. When I saw a weed in the arena recently, I said to myself ‘That needs to go!’ We always have her voice very much in our heads.”

    A service to celebrate Miranda’s life will take place at the Church of St Mary, Bibury, Gloucestershire, on 7 September at 3pm followed by afternoon tea, drinks and pizza at Stone Barn, Aldsworth, and everyone who knew her is welcome.

    Donations in Miranda’s memory can be made to the Royal Free Charity, for neuroendocrine cancer research.

    Either via TheBigGive Neuroendocrine Cancer NETs Research Appeal (www.thebiggive.org.uk)


    Account Name: ROYAL FREE CHARITY
    Bank name & address: LLOYDS 140 Camden High St London NW1 0NG
    Bank sort code 30‐93‐80
    Bank account number 00279476

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