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Tribute paid to Suffolk heavy horse stalwart

PUBLISHED: 11:08 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:33 24 May 2019

Roger Clark walking with his Suffolk Punch in the Grand Parade on the final day of the Suffolk Show 2018  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Roger Clark walking with his Suffolk Punch in the Grand Parade on the final day of the Suffolk Show 2018 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Tribute has been paid to a stalwart of the Suffolk Show and a great champion of the Suffolk heavy horse breed who died in May.

Roger Clark walking with his Suffolk Punch at the Suffolk Show 2018  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRoger Clark walking with his Suffolk Punch at the Suffolk Show 2018 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Roger Clark, of Stoke-by-Nayland, was a farrier and an outstanding horseman. He had been involved with the Suffolk Horse Society, which works with owners of the endangered breed, believed to be the oldest heavy horse breed in Britain, to try to increase its numbers.

Mr Clark, who showed at events all over the country including the Suffolk and Royal Norfolk Shows, was at one time master of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt and the East Anglian Bloodhounds, and was well known throughout the horse world.

MORE - Weylands Farm horses celebrate 'amazing' set of results at Royal Norfolk Show, including Suffolk Horse supreme champion award

Before his death, the Suffolk Agricultural Association, the organisation behind the Suffolk Show, made a special presentation to him in honour of his numerous achievements.

Mark Donsworth, senior steward for heavy horses at the Suffolk Show, said: "It was my great honour to accompany the Suffolk Agricultural Association show president, Mr Stephen Miles, last week to present on behalf of the Suffolk Agricultural Association an 'outstanding service to agriculture award' - a fitting tribute to an amazing gentleman."

Roger Clark farriering at Weylands farm, Thorrington Street  Picture: CLIFFORD HICKSRoger Clark farriering at Weylands farm, Thorrington Street Picture: CLIFFORD HICKS

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George Paul, chairman of trustees at the Suffolk Horse Society, which seeks to preserve the breed through a grants system, described him as "a fantastic horseman", both in terms of driving horses and teaching others how to do so.

"He was, of course, first and foremost, a farrier and was a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers," he said. "That in itself was a distinguished position to hold.

"In some ways, his greatest contribution was training a huge number of apprentice farriers who then went on to qualify. He trained well over 20 apprentice farriers. Most of the farriers in Suffolk now were trained by Roger Clark and that was a tremendous contribution to make."

Roger Clark with his Suffolk heavy horse at Weylands Farm, near Stoke-by-Nayland  Picture: ANDY ABBOTTRoger Clark with his Suffolk heavy horse at Weylands Farm, near Stoke-by-Nayland Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

He was also a "brilliant ambassador" for the Suffolk horse breed, and a "consummate showman". He recalled how he scooped the Royal Show championship three times with a team of four in the 1980s using his great skills as a horseman, and how he showed horses to their very best, either in hand or driving them.

Mr Clark was president of the Suffolk Horse Society in 1993, and chairman of its council from 1979 to 1981.

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