The south-east showjumping circuit has been paying tribute to popular amateur rider, Russell Pearson, who died in a car accident over the August Bank Holiday weekend and whose funeral will take place this Friday (18 September).
Russell, 44, ran Gleniffer Stables, a riding school and livery yard near Maidenhead, Berkshire. He was a familiar face on the local show scene and a huge supporter of his son, international showjumper Tony Pearson.
Caz Light, secretary at Pyecombe in West Sussex, one of Russell’s favourite venues, said: “Russell was such a cheeky chappie; he was always doing something to make us laugh. When we built a fence around our new arena we covered it in signs saying, ‘Do not sit on the fence’. Russell promptly hopped up onto the railings, took a picture of himself and sent it to me with a note saying, ‘Uh oh, I’m in trouble!’ He got away with it, though, because he always had a grin on his face and he was a gentleman through and through.
“As a secretary, he was one of the riders you always looked forward to seeing in the mornings.”
Russell sponsored a veterans’ class at Pyecombe’s annual four-day show in August.
“He’d always said that the adults needed a class of their own, without the young ones whizzing round,” added Caz. “This year’s winner, Emma Hinkley, has kindly agreed to sponsor the class for next year and there will be a new trophy, the Russell Pearson memorial trophy, awarded to the winner.”
A minute’s silence took place at Yateley’s end-of-season show on 6 September where, according to the showground’s Facebook page: “You could have heard a pin drop, such was the respect held by so many for Russell.”
Russell’s funeral will take place at 11.15am on Friday at Easthampstead Park Cemetery and Crematorium in Wokingham, Surrey.