Equestrians recognised with Medal of Honour

William Funnell and Billy Congo.
William Funnell and Billy Congo. © Paul Harding/Lewis Harding Images

Showjumper William Funnell and vaulter Hannah Eccles have been presented with the British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour.

The pair joined Showjumping Performance Manager Rob Hoekstra and Simon Brooks-Ward CVO OBE TD in being recognised at Olympia for the instrumental role they play within equestrian sport.

Michael Foljambe, who was unable to attend Olympia, received his Medal at the beginning of December from British Eventing Chief Executive Mike Etherington-Smith.

The medals were presented by BEF Chairman, Keith Taylor. 

A stalwart member of the British vaulting squad, Hannah Eccles has competed at both junior and senior level individually, in team and pas de deux competitions. Alongside Joanne, the sisters won the first ever medal for Great Britain (a silver) in the pas de deux at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, a feat they repeated at the European Championships a year later. She has won four consecutive silver medals in pas de deux, three of these whilst studying at University. Hannah is part of the Champions in Schools Programme and coaches aspiring young vaulters, including junior pas de deux pair Andrew McLachlan and Rebecca Norval, who won gold at the 2012 junior European Championships.

William Funnell has represented Great Britain on countless showjumping Nations Cup teams and two European Championships – and was instrumental in helping GB secure team gold in Denmark earlier this year, with home-bred stallion Billy Congo. He has developed The Billy Stud with Donal Barnwell, that has gone on to produce some of the best homebred talents in the country.

Before changing to British nationality in 1987, Rob Hoekstra competed for The Netherlands to junior level in showjumping. He went on to represent Great Britain on seven Nations Cup teams, had international success and won the Hickstead Derby in 1999. Showjumping Performance Manager for the World Class Programme since 2010, Rob has now seen the squad through four senior Championships and has won three team and three individual medals during this time, including team gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games and 2013 European Championships.

Simon Brooks-Ward has been instrumental in supporting the growth of top class international dressage and showjumping in Great Britain. Chairman and Chief Executive of the HPower Group, his work as Director of The London International Horse Show, Olympia, the 2009 Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships and the Royal Windsor Horse Show, to name a few, has contributed greatly to the showcasing of equestrian sport in the UK.


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