Melton equestrian community mourns loss of a dedicated servant

Sally Thornton enjoyed team chase success with the Melton Hunt Club and helped launch the successful career of her jockey son Robert 'Choc', Thornton EMN-171025-110757002

The Melton equestrian community lost a popular and hard-working servant last week after Sally Thornton passed away.

Sally’s involvement in, and contribution to, the borough’s equestrian life was lifelong, most recently with Melton Hunt Club with whom she served as a diligent secretary from 2009.

In this role she helped to run the Melton Hunt Club’s annual home point-to-point meeting at Garthorpe Racecourse.

Sally was also involved with the Quorn and Belvoir meetings at Garthorpe where she was Clerk of the Scales for several years.

Melton Hunt Club chairman Joey Newton said: “I have known Sally for 25 years and she has been completely reliable from every point of view. She was a very special person.

“Sally would always do those jobs that no-one wanted to do, and always supported the young members of the team at the kennels.

“She was one of those people who works away quietly in the background and gets things done; it’s a tragedy she has gone.”

Sally, from Harby, officially held the role of secretary until she died, and despite starting a debilitating course of chemotherapy in September last year, returned in the spring to help out with the Melton Hunt Club Ride.

“It shows the sort of person we are dealing with,” Joey added.

“This was a really tireless lady who has done an amazing amount of voluntary work within our community and deserved a gold medal for it.

“She didn’t see it as a job, she was just doing her bit to help her community.”

As well as her administrative attention to detail and dedication to a deadline, Sally was a talented rider, enjoying success in team chasing and the Melton Hunt Club Ride,

She was brought up in Quorn country where she met her husband of 44 years, Martin, who became Belvoir Huntsman, and the couple had two sons, Richard and Robert.

Her interest in the point-to-point scene increased when the family first bought and trained pointers for Robert.

It helped to launch a prodigious career for ‘Choc’ who went onto become a leading National Hunt jockey before his premature retirement through injury.

“She was very involved in training point-to-pointers and keeping his team chase ponies going which started his career in racing,” Joey added.

Sally’s funeral service will be held at St Mary The Virgin Church, in Harby on Wednesday at 11.30am, followed by a private cremation.

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