Familiar voice is no more

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The Independent Online
THE equestrian world lost a highly-valued and respected friend yesterday when the television commentator Raymond Brooks-Ward collapsed and died at his Cornwall home. Aged 62, he was due to be commentating on the British Open horse trials at Gatcombe Park.

Brooks-Ward's voice was familiar around the world, having been heard most recently at the Barcelona Olympics. But he was also a leading event organizer and fund- raiser, and at the time of his death was busy working on his latest project, the Pavarotti International Show scheduled in Italy next month. He had been show director of the Horse of the Year Show, the Royal International Horse Show, and since 1971 the Christmas Olympia Show, a popular success which he created, mixing top-class show jumping with pantomime-style entertainment.

His enthusiasm and energy never flagged. After a short spell as a racing commentator, he turned to show jumping, and when the need for sponsorship came he lead the way in securing funds and publicity.

Captain Mark Phillips said Brooks-Ward would be missed as a friend. 'He was the public face, image and voice of all equestrian sports certainly since I can remember from when I was a boy,' he said. Brooks-Ward leaves a wife and three sons.