Farewell to former hunt master and chairman of Suffolk Horse Society

  • George Paul MBE, the former master of the Essex & Suffolk died on 9 October, aged 82.

    Mr Paul was master and amateur huntsman of the Essex & Suffolk Foxhounds from 1977 to 1985, having learned his craft from the great Ronnie Wallace, when he spent a season with the Heythrop. He was chairman of the Essex & Suffolk for 21 years and chairman of the point-to-point committee.

    He ran the family firm Pauls Agriculture, and when it was bought by FTSE 100 company Harrisons & Crosfield in 1985 he was appointed chief executive and then chairman. He was also chairman of Norwich Union, which became Aviva.

    Mr Paul had a love of racing and many happy hours were spent leaving at the crack of dawn to travel to Newmarket to watch the first lot out on the gallops, especially if one of his horses trained by Lucy Wadham was out.

    He rode in his first point-to-point on a horse called Invertina and was hooked. He went on to ride, train and own many winners, most of them home-bred. He dreamed of having a Cheltenham runner and was remembered saying, “This could be the one”, about different horses. The closest he got was with Terivic in the Topham at Aintree, trained by Kim Bailey. Other notable home-breds included Sir Winston, Cordon Bleu, Crafty Look, Craftsman, and Cornelia.

    A Suffolk man at heart, he served as deputy lieutenant and high sheriff of the county, and president of the Suffolk show twice. Following the death of his first wife Mary, he carried on her work with the Suffolk Horse Society. He served as chairman for 25 years, and stood down in 2020.

    He was a former chairman of the Jockey Club Estates in Newmarket, and chairman of the National Horseracing Museum for five years. He was trustee of the Home of Horseracing, and instrumental in the Palace House restoration. This year he was appointed MBE for services to British horseracing heritage.

    He is survived by his second wife Maggie, daughter Bridget, sons Stuart and Oliver, his stepchildren Robert and Alexandra, and nine grandchildren.

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