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Virginia "Bonk" Walwyn - Died 2 January 2014

'Bonk' Walwyn, wife of the two-time Champion Flat trainer Peter Walwyn and one of the most popular characters in the Lambourn racing community, has died after being taken ill on Thursday. She was 77.

Mrs Walwyn was an extremely decorative trainer's wife of the old school, who never thought her place was in the paddock or interfering with the horses. Her active involvement did not go beyond riding out, yet she was an integral and crucial part of a tremendous double act and was always there for winners and losers alike.

She saw her duties as driving her husband to the races, running an open house, ensuring the drinks cabinet was full, looking after owners and acting as a second mother to many of the staff, as well as having an enormously calming influence in what was, at times, a very hectic life.

She married Peter in 1960, the year he took out a licence. He was Champion trainer in 1974 and 1975 during the glory years of Grundy, their horse of a lifetime. The flaxen-maned colt won the Champagne and Dewhurst Stakes at two and, after being beaten in the Guineas, won the Derby, Irish Derby and King George.

Even when the Walwyn's downsized to Windsor House and, in retirement, their home was still the epicentre of Lambourn, always full of people, laughter and endless dogs, no more so than after each Lambourn Open day.

By Marcus Armytage (The Telegraph)

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