AN eminent county horseman and leading huntsman of more than 50 years has died peacefully at home.

Vivian Roger Bishop, aged 90, of Sheepcote, Clifford, passed away on July 9. He is celebrated as a driving force behind the success of the Golden Valley Hunt.

Mr Bishop was known to many in his prestigious role as Master of Foxhounds which he had held since the hunt was reformed in 1945 until his death, his 56th season.

He and his wife Hazel were leading point-to-point riders in their time and in wider racing circles their horses were regular winners at the major meetings, including Cheltenham. Mr Bishop had boasted a grand total of 52 point-to-point wins.

"As a family nobody could have had a finer husband, father and grandfather. He was always a great support and encouragement to all of us - if he was here now he would tell us to 'forrard-on'," said his family in tribute.

Family tradition

Mr Bishop's successful career was last marked by The Hereford Times in February 1991 when he celebrated his 80th birthday in the saddle. He continued to ride for several more years.

The family's hunting tradition has been continued by daughter, Diana Joyce, who also enjoyed a successful point-to-point career.

Mr Bishop, described as a very kind and gentle man, has two other daughters, Valerie and Joanna, and four grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held at St Mary's Church, Clifford on Saturday, July 14 at 2pm. Flowers or donations may be sent to the Hunts' Servants Benevolent Fund.