Farewell to a ‘beautiful yet bold horseman’ aged 85

  • By Martin Scott

    Sidney Bailey, one of the best professional huntsmen since World War II, has died, aged 85. He started hunting with the Heythrop where his father Tom was the long-serving kennelman of more than 40 years. His aunt was a Littleworth, and his uncle Jack Littleworth hunted the Quorn hounds.

    Sidney went to the Ledbury and whipped-in to Nimrod Champion in 1957, then came to the VWH Cricklade in 1960. When the amalgamation took place in 1964, it was felt that a break was needed so Sidney went as huntsman at the Wylye Valley from 1964-66.

    He returned to become huntsman of the VWH at Meysey Hampton in 1966, where he stayed for 43 years in all, serving 23 masters and providing the best of sport. This continuity of service was so beneficial to the hounds and the country.

    Sidney had learnt under the very best, he had the proper, old-fashioned ways and was the best of people to work with.

    Not only was he top-class across country, he had a natural way with horses and was a beautiful yet bold horseman. He also had that wonderful affinity with hounds and they loved him.

    Sidney was wonderful with people from all walks of life and got on with everyone. He was very good with the younger riders, encouraging them to come hunting and many did.

    He also adored his holidays on Exmoor following the Devon and Somerset Staghounds.

    Sidney maintained the highest standards in the field and in the kennel and was always polite and correct but never lost for a word. It was reported on one occasion when Martin Scott was complaining about his daughter’s mishaps, Sidney with a huge smile on his face said, “You don’t breed tame ones out of wild ones, sir!”

    When he came to retire, he did all he could to help his successor, Philip Hage, who it is pleasing to see is now starting his 19th season at Meysey Hampton.

    Sidney was much loved by everyone in the country. He was supported superbly by Carol, his wife, and their lovely daughter Karen who sadly predeceased them. He was a great hound man, horseman and had a great working pack of hounds.

    Sidney will be missed by so many of us.

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