Pioneer of establishing the biggest eventing competition in north dies

George Lane Fox at fence seven, the Horse and Hound Logs, in 1999.
George Lane Fox at fence seven, the Horse and Hound Logs, in 1999.

The man who put Bramham on the map, thanks to creating the north’s biggest equestrian eventing competition, George Lane Fox died on Tuesday.

The family said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we announce that George Lane Fox died peacefully at home on Tuesday.”

He was the ninth generation of his family to live at Bramham Park and started Bramham Horse Trials in 1973.

George followed his father into the Household Cavalry and after 20 years’ service, returned home to continue the restoration work of the Park, started by his mother post-war.

He set the Estate on to a modern business footing, developing the farming and forestry enterprises. However, it was the horse trials which were the highlight of his year and he put his heart and soul into building them into the international success which they are today.

The first competition in 1973 was a one day event with George as event director and course designer. He always had big plans; a year later it returned as a three day event and just seven years later, it was awarded international status.

Event directors came and went but George always made it his priority to ensure the Event was a favourite amongst the riders and the supportive Yorkshire crowd.

He was immensely proud of his ‘home team’ of staff and volunteers, recruited to run the event, many of whom are still helping today.

George never missed a prize giving and was always smartly attired in his bowler hat and suit, adding tone to the occasion.  He had great satisfaction following his competitors and their horses in their careers on from Bramham, to four star and then to international teams, knowing that his home event had played its part in their success.

Equally, he loved to see amateurs venturing to Bramham for the biggest test of their lives and made a point of trying to talk to every one during the event.

George’s eldest son, Nick, said: “I will always remember Dad taking me, as a boy, to choose trees to turn into his cross-country fences and I’ll keep a picture in my mind of him sitting at the marquee door, greeting every guest, at the Bramham Cocktail Party. His tenacity in keeping the horse trials going for the first 10 years, when it cost him money, is an example to me and everybody else.”

The funeral will be held in All Saints Church, Bramham at 11.30am on Wednesday October 17.