Judge Ann honoured with memorial tribute; Clubs come together for fundraiser.
Byline: Anna Harris
STAINSBY Grange Equestrian Centre, in Stockton, is hosting a show in memory of hunting stalwart and British Showjumping judge Ann Brannen, from Bishop Auckland.
Local hunts, Pony Clubs and show jumpers will be gathering for the two-day event on April 4 and 5 to celebrate Ann's life and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research and Marie Curie.
Ann was a well-known and respected gure in North East equestrian circles, having been involved with British Showjumping Area 12A for more than 40 years, working as both treasurer and deputy area representative during this time.
She was also a familiar face in hunting circles, having ridden with the South Durham Hunt since childhood and helping out, in various roles, at both the South Durham and later the Braes of Derwent Hunt, where her son John is now one of the Masters.
Born and brought up in Bishopton, Stockton on Tees, Ann's involvement with horses started at an early age as her father, Norman Stephenson, was a horse dealer and also helped set up the North East show jumping circuit, along with Bobby Durham and Jimmy Jack.
By the age of 14 she was helping out in the judges' box at show jumping competitions, as well as competing, and so started a life dedicated to the region's equestrian community.
As well as roles in the hunts and British Showjumping, Ann was also closely involved with the Hurworth Hunt and the South Durham Hunt Pony Clubs.
She was also an important gure in the region's agricultural shows, with Stanhope Show presenting her with a trophy to celebrate the fact that she had been involved with the event - as both a competitor or o"cial - for more than 50 years.
Activities at the Ann Brannen Macmillan Cancer Research Memorial Show start tomorrow evening with pony clubs and hunts taking part in an Inter Hunt Challenge. "e classes include a Handy Hunter competition and a Ride and Drive class, with points being accumulated over the evening. "e overall winer will be presented with the Ann Brannen Memorial Trophy.
"e following day, Stainsby Grange and JM Equestrian will host a British Showjumping show, with generous prize money. "e classes range from British Novice through to a 1.10m Open.
As well as all the equestrian activities, there will also be a hornblowing competition open to any hunt members, with a bottle of Champagne being awarded to the winner.
Janice Mewse, from JM Equestrian, said: ""e event will be lled with fun and laughter in memory of Ann, who enjoyed her days out hunting with her family and friends and also BS judging throughout along career.
""e night and following day will all be about fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie, and all the facilities and helpers associated with this event will be giving their time up voluntary."
" Various prizes will be er during the event, including a helicopter ride and a week's holiday in a villa in Lanzarote.
Also, JM Equestrian and Jamie Atkinson will be running a series of BS Senior Category 2 Shows at Waterford Equestrian Centre, near Durham, throughout the summer.
"e series begins on April 26 and over the summer the venue will be hosting the Discovery Regional nal, which is a direct qualier for Stoneleigh, and Scope Qualiers.