Top showjumper competed in memorial event

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An annual showjumping competition in memory of a Wyberton horse rider who died aged 19 attracted one of the biggest names in the sport this year.

The fifth Jade Wilson-Ayres Memorial Trophy was recently held in Grantham as part of the Arena UK Major Showjumping Championships.

More than 300 riders took part in the competition, set up by the family of Jade Wilson-Ayres, from Wyberton, after her death in 2010.

Jade died while undergoing surgery following a horse riding accident nine months earlier and the trophy given in her memory was bought with donations from her funeral.

Among this year’s competitors was international show jumper John Whitaker, who counts a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games among his achievements.

Jade’s father Robin Ayres, 68, of Church Lane, Wyberton, said: “I was so proud to see him - a top English showjumper - in the competition.”

The final of the competition is barred to the top 100 riders according to the British Showjumping Association, meaning that while Whitaker qualified for the deciding event, at 15th, he did not feature in it.

This year’s winner was Melissa Garry, from Kent, on Billy Lights, who also won the trophy last year.

Jade’s horse, Wendy III, finished ninth, ridden by friend Stacey Nichols, 25, from Wisbech.

Robin told The Standard of the significance of the competition to the family.

He said: “It brings Jade back for that week. She would have wanted us to do it because Jade’s life was horses.”