A sad day for all of us here in Ireland, Friday 27th May, as Grainne Sugars was laid to rest in the lovely graveyard of St Colmcille’s Church, Co. Kildare following a service in the Church led by the local Rector.
A small Church, it was full of family, friends and pupils of Grainne’s as we stood to sing some of her favourite hymns and heard readings from her sister Judy (from England) and brother John (from Dublin). Her sister Philly had also made the journey across from Canada.
We are all aware how sick Grainne has been in the last years, however, this was a day to ‘Celebrate the Life of Grainne Sugars’. 14th July 1954 – 22nd May 2022. It was a chance to catch up with old friends as we stood in the Church yard after the service as Grainne was interred. Eventing people, Irish Pony Club people, Dressage Ireland Folk, BHS Coaches, Association of the Irish Riding Establishments proprietors and pupils from all disciplines were there to help her on her way to ‘those horses in the sky’. Past pupils and present ones all comparing notes as we stood and talked through our own remembrances about this wonderful Friend & Coach. Her Equitation Centre, Calliaghstown, now owned by Anthony Byrne, was busy running BHS assessments, however, two lovely black cobs from Calliaghstown preceded the hearse to the Church. So many ‘Do you remembers’ could be heard in the Churchyard.
I first met Grainne in 1991 at Punchestown at the European Eventing Championships where she was walking the course with her Irish Junior Riders. I then went, later in the week, to Calliaghstown EC to examine at the BHS exams being held there. And so a great friendship began. Other people had competed with Grainne whilst others were there because she had helped them on their way up the BHS Qualifications ’ladder’ or with their competition horses. Grainne’s brother John gave us a great insight into this distinguished lady, and all that she stood for, for so many many people, her siblings and their families.
As a BHS Assessor at a BHS Approved Riding Centre, Grainne was very involved with the first Trail Leader Assessments, as she used the Wicklow Trail across the Wicklow Mountains for her holiday students and felt these qualifications would be most useful in the Equestrian Tourism Industry.
As well as Faith Ponsonby (BHS Assessor) it was good to see Susan Spratt, the BHS Regional Manager for Ireland, who had travelled down from Northern Ireland to be present at this celebration, also Rosemary Gaffney BHSI and an Olympic Para Rider for Ireland. However, I must take care as there were just so many people to catch up with today, too numerous to mention.
Grainne’s Charity is the Irish Wheelchair Association and should anyone feel they would like to donate to this Charity then go to IWA.ie there is also a website where you can leave messages for the family – RIP.ie
Grainne – “GONE TOO SOON”.
Jillie Rogers xxxxx