We were recently alerted by our British colleagues (BEWA) that long time member Judith Draper had passed away. Alan Smith writes:
Judith Draper, our beloved friend and erstwhile colleague, lost her long battle with cancer in the early hours of November 7th, at the all-too-early age of 71.
Judi â?? or Jood if you prefer, as she often did â?? had the perfect cv for an equestrian journalist, with a love of, and practical experience with horses, combined with an inquisitive mind, a …skilful pen and a meticulous attention to detail when it came to editing other peopleâ??s work. No misplaced comma or incorrect semicolon escaped her, as I was to discover, and bless her for it.
As a teenager she worked for some years in racing stables, â??doing her twoâ?? both Flat and National Hunt, and spent two years riding second horse to the late Dorian Williams when he was Master of the Whaddon Chase.
Judi, who was for many years on the staff of Riding magazine, worked as a freelance for most of her career, and was often the first port of call for editors â?? of Lâ??Annee Hippique for example – who wanted authoritative articles on just about anything to do with horses; reports of competitions, interviews with riders or officials, statistical analyses or a mixture of all of those.
Her major work, of many, the Guinness Book of Show Jumping, though published as long ago as 1987, remains an important source of reference, though she was frustrated at not being able to get the funding to update it.
But if horses, and cats, were her passion, her greatest love was her late husband Larry: Laurence Payne, who acted with such luminaries as Olivier and Gielgud, published several novels, painted with a rare talent and taught himself to play the piano, again with an exquisite touch. When she first saw him on the stage she determined to marry him â?? and did. They shared a love of Shakespeare and Beethoven, and of Vienna: she spread Larryâ??s ashes through the Viennese woods, and a little on Beethovenâ??s tomb.
Fortunately for us, Judiâ??s assignments meant that she travelled to many of the major competitions around the world, and so we were able to enjoy her company in many places for many years, and those memories will long remain with us. Always the best of company even when much of the food and drink that we enjoyed were, for health reasons, denied her.
Judi will be much missed, but hopefully she and Larry are now together again.
God bless Jood.