A PASSIONATE horseman, a wonderful hound man, and a devoted husband and family man, Neil Parker lived a long and fulfilling life. Widely read and interested in all aspects of life, it was nevertheless his love of horses which shone through all.

From Charterhouse and Sandhurst, he entered the army only to leave shortly after his commanding officer curtailed his access to horses! In 1957 Neil became Joint-Master of the Newmarket and Thurlow Foxhounds and after three seasons moved on to the Avon Vale. In 1976 he joined Bert Firestone as Joint-Master and Huntsman of the Kildare Hunt. He, Sally and their family moved to Kildare and never looked back.

Within a season he showed a great improvement in sport and being a good judge of hounds, Neil soon joined the Committee of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Asssociation. Leading by example, Neil was a fine horseman across country until a serious fall in 1985 broke his back in several places. Within three months, he was back in the saddle but relinquished the Mastership and hunting the hounds the following year.

Throughout his eye for a horse was reflected in his buying and selling of many outstanding horses. These included - before he came to Ireland - Cornish Gold, later to win eventing gold at the Olympics; Tudor Line, Supreme Champion Hunter at the Horse of the Year Show; and from home in Kildare, Flashing Steel, winner of the Irish Grand National; Katabatic, two-mile Champion chaser at Cheltenham; Sunnyhill Boy and many others.

A keen amateur jockey in England where he rode in many point-to-points, Neil also rode and trained his own Liffey’s Choice to win a hurdle race at one of the very rare National Hunt meetings at the Curragh, an achievement he was justly proud of.

To Sally, who gave Neil not only enduring love but her wholehearted support and knowledge from her own passion for horses, Fiona, Tim, and Simon, our deepest sympathy.

Tim, in his eulogy in St John’s, Ballymore Eustace at Neil’s farewell quoted the ancient Arab proverb, “The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears”.

What a wonderful sign off!