Tributes are flooding in from around the world for eventing trainer Derrick Watts, who died on 14 June after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.
Born in Cheltenham, Derrick learnt to ride at school, and soon moved on to competing — as a teenager he rode at Horse of the Year Show.
From his home in Halesowen, Derrick travelled all over the country for decades coaching riders from young Pony Club beginners to international eventers.
He taught at the Croome Hunt, Duke of Beaufort’s, Cotswold Vale, Warwickshire and West Warwickshire branches of the Pony Club — and featured once in a short story by Jilly Cooper, who met Mr Watts during her research for the novel Riders.
Derrick’s partner of 27 years, Maurice Turner, said: “Derrick dedicated his life to horses and riding, and inspiring others to feel the same.
“He couldn’t walk unaided the last time he taught, but he didn’t let that stop him.”
Just hours after his death, Mr Turner said he was inundated with tributes for Derrick from around the UK and from as far away as Spain, Canada and South Africa.
International event rider Erica Watson said: “Derrick was at Burghley and Badminton every time I competed, he gave so much to others and will leave a huge gap in our lives.”
Derrick’s funeral is on Wednesday 25 June at Stourbridge Crematorium at 11.40am.