‘A wonderful person’: farewell to coach who was a friend to many

  • Long-standing-standing coach and friend to many Susan Nelson died on 17 December, aged 66.

    Sue, also known as Nellie, was born in Morecambe on 5 February 1957. She had one brother, John, and was educated at Bentham Grammar School.

    Sue did not come from a horsey family but always loved horses and started riding as a youngster. At the age of 15 she had a fall and fractured her pelvis. This required weeks in hospital in traction, but it did not put her off and when she left school she followed her dream to work with horses.

    In 1977 she went to Harrogate Riding Centre and qualified as a BHSII. The following year, Casterton School, at Kirkby Lonsdale, advertised for a riding instructor and Sue got the job. She combined this role with that of relief housemistress for well over 30 years. Sue was a dedicated member of staff and very popular with the students. She immersed herself in school life, as well as running the riding department, teaching and organising equestrian activities, outings and events. She ran gymkhanas, fun rides and the Pony Club centre.

    The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme for horseback expedition was another activity in which she encouraged the girls to take part and she accompanied one pupil to St James’s Palace to collect her gold award from Prince Philip, a proud moment.

    In 2013 when Casterton and Sedbergh schools merged, Sue wrote about her time at the school, noting that she had worked there for 101 terms.

    She was a wonderful loyal person and a great friend to many. She was always willing to help out and would happily travel all over the country helping her friends at various horse shows. A big highlight was watching her good friend Emma Burrow win the Welsh section D Horse of the Year Show final in 2019 with Dyffryngwy Sir Piccasso followed by a win at Olympia, the London International Horse Show. Sue was a regular helper for Emma and a valuable member of “Team EJB”.

    In her younger days she worked at Camp America for several years, with horses. She loved to ski and enjoyed travelling. A favourite was Positano, where she had friends. Sue also enjoyed photography and was brilliant at taking photos round the shows.

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