Chattisham: Heartbroken family of horse rider Lucy Woolley, 16, pay tribute to a ‘beautiful’ daughter and sister

Lucy Woolley, 16, who died after falling off her horse

Lucy Woolley, 16, who died after falling off her horse - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a “beautiful” 16-year-old girl who died following a fall from her horse.

Lucy Woolley, 16, who died after falling off her horse

Lucy Woolley, 16, who died after falling off her horse - Credit: Archant

Skilled rider Lucinda Woolley, from Chattisham, near Ipswich, was seriously injured when her horse Alfie was “spooked” by a nearby farm vehicle and she fell.

Farm workers were quickly on the scene and her mother Julia was there within five minutes. Ambulance crews were called and the East of England Air Ambulance also responded, touching down nearby.

Lucinda, known as Lucy, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for emergency treatment and underwent three hours of surgery last Wednesday but died from her injuries the following day.

Mrs Woolley said her daughter, an Ipswich High School student, was a beautiful girl, a diligent scholar and extremely passionate about her riding, which saw her compete against professional riders at a national level.

She said the response to her daughter’s death had been “absolutely phenomenal” and that she and Lucy’s father Peter wanted to thank the emergency crews and hospital staff for their efforts and support over the past few days

She said: “Although she was very diligent with her school work, her passion was riding. She had been riding since the age of three and had had a succession of horses and her current horse was a professional eventer horse.

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“She had got to the point of competing at British Eventing level – a very high level – and other people who were more expert than us were kind enough to say she was a very talented rider.

“Yes, it was a very dangerous sport and we had given a lot of thought to giving her the horse she had. We agreed that she could compete at that level and that’s what she lived for.”

Lucy, who has an 18-year-old sister Charlotte, known as Lottie, was planning to go to Ipswich School to take her A-levels starting in September.

She was part of the Essex and Suffolk Pony Club and had recently enjoyed a week in Milton Keynes with fellow club members, coming just after she had been to the Latitude Festival, near Southwold, with her close group of friends.

Mrs Woolley said: “On Wednesday morning she was doing what she did every day – have breakfast, go out on a laid-back hack and then get on with the rest of her day.

“It just so happened that on that pivotal occasion they had only got 10 minutes into their hack when Alfie got spooked by the vehicle – it was a fluke.

“The chap who was driving the tractor is a personal friend – fortunately they knew her and the horse.

“As soon as she had the fall, they were the ones who called the ambulance. I heard the horse come back to the stables and chased off to find her.

“I was there within five minutes of the fall. We had some fantastic help – the paramedics and ambulance crew, the East Anglian Air Ambulance. The team of people were phenomenal. We want to thank them for everything they did.”

Mrs Woolley said she and her husband had tried not to tell their daughter too often how beautiful and talented she was in order to help her keep her feet on the ground.

She added: “First of all, she was beautiful. We didn’t try to tell her that because no parent wants to dwell on that. She was tall – taller than me – and was growing fast and had long blonde hair, down to her waist.

“She had the biggest smile and long, gangly legs and an amazing, infectious laugh and sense of humour. She had the best time with her friends at Latitude.

“She loved her riding but was uncertain about it as a career. She was hoping to study economics, geography, psychology and biology at A-level and was very enthusiastic, particularly about geography and economics.

“She was very determined, organised and focussed. She was sporty and also played hockey and rounders for the school.”