I have always felt lucky that my initial training as a Working Pupil was at Moat House Benenden, under the tutelage of Mrs Cherrie Hatton Hall. I arrived as a rather self- important holder of the B Test, was carefully and quietly put onto the right tracks and ended up a competent BHSAI all thanks to Mrs Hatton Hall, and with Cherrie’s voice in my ear I progressed to become a BHSI.
As staff we were not allowed to call her Cherrie only the schoolgirls – Ginny Leng Bedgebury Park School and Princess Anne Benenden School could call her Cherrie. A tough boss expecting your all as a trainee or member of staff she also instilled into us a strong work ethic and love for each horse we worked with.
Cherrie’s Faith was very strong and following the death of her husband, ‘The Captain’ she struggled on for a while before taking the veil, joining The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood. She told me, later, that as a Novitiate in the Convent she found an inner strength as kitchen work and work in the laundry was very hard and definitely not what she was used to. As soon as she was able the Franciscan Order encouraged her to go to the RDA Centre at Cranleigh to coach. She also examined in her habit for many years, candidates found this strange but she so quickly put them at ease. Cherrie then travelled the world helping the RDA to ensure that their own Instructors were aware of correct and safe coaching techniques. In Singapore she became known as the Galloping Nun and this became the title of her biography.
Cherrie came to the F&I Ladies Day at Hickstead a couple of times, brought by a member of the BHS staff. A few years ago I visited her at Ladywell Convent Godalming, along with Alison Craig, on that day I was struck by her simplistic way of viewing the ups and downs of her own life, her tenacity and her Faith.