Tim Ritson has died aged 84.
He was five when his father, William, was killed fighting in North Africa with the 3rd Hussars, and his mother, Penelope, remarried a brother officer, Otho Bullivant.
After school, he went up to Cambridge to read Engineering, where his studies claimed less of his time than his duties as a whipper-in to the Trinity Foot Beagles and as double bass player in a Scottish country dancing band, On leaving university he joined the Regiment.
He served as a Troop Leader in ‘A’ Squadron, in Warminster as the Demonstration Squadron, and then Munster. His Engineering Degree led to the School of Tank Technology Course followed by technical staff jobs at Guided Weapons Wing RAC Centre, and the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment.
More to his taste, he was a 3 goal member of the regimental polo team with Lockhart, Sherwin, and Fraser that won Captains and Subalterns in 1960 followed by a run, with some changes of the team, of several Inter Regimentals, and the United Services Champions Cup five times running. Tim was noted particularly for his ‘excellent marking’. He represented the Army on tours of India and Kenya. A serious eventer in his younger days, he twice rode the Queen Mother’s horse Gypsy Love around Badminton.
He also took his own horse, Evening Echo, to Badminton and, in 1966, to the first eventing world championships at Burghley. It was on Evening Echo that he was selected for Great Britain’s team at the Mexico Olympics in 1968, only for his horse to go lame, preventing them from competing.
On leaving the Army in 1967, he and Dawn, daughter of the racehorse trainers Gordon and Helen Johnson Houghton, settled on a farm in Cheshire, selling turf and central heating oil from the farm. He served for 25 years as a magistrate and chairman of the bench in Chester.
But his principal interests remained equestrian. He was known as a fearless rider across country with the Williams-Wynn Hunt, for which he was a field master for many years. He also rode in point-to-points and enjoyed team chasing into his late fifties.
A devotee of am-dram, he produced many shows and revues in conjunction with local hunts. He also ran horse trials at Malpas and built courses for team chases, hunter trials and the pony club.
In 2001, he hooked a monster salmon on his beloved River Brora in Scotland. After he had played with the fish for two hours, the nylon snapped. Later the salmon’s carcass was found. Its weight was estimated at around 70lb, which would have made it the biggest-ever rod-caught British salmon, beating the record set in 1922 – a 64lb fish.
He brought inexhaustible enthusiasm to his various incarnations as a cavalry officer, farmer, fisherman and horseman.