Huntmaster's daughter, 2, dies after fall from horse
15th October 2021

Girl, two, who died from severe chest injuries after falling from her pony during hunt was the daughter of the joint huntmaster, inquest hears

  • Felicity Francis, 2, fell from a pony on land near Northallerton,  North Yorkshire
  • Her father Michael is the joint huntmaster for The Bedale Hunt in Yorkshire 
  • Her inquest heard Felicity suffered major chest injuries after the incident 
  • Her inquest at North Yorkshire Coroner’s Court was adjourned until a later date

A two-year-old girl who died after falling from her pony during a hunt meeting was the daughter of the joint huntmaster, an inquest opening has heard. 

Felicity Francis suffered severe chest injuries when she fell from her pony while riding with members of The Bedale Hunt on land near Northallerton on September 15.

She was airlifted to Royal Victoria infirmary in Newcastle but was pronounced dead later that day, North Yorkshire Coroners Court heard.

The toddler, from Northallerton was the daughter of Michael Francis, who is the joint huntmaster of Bedale Hunt.

Jonathan Heath, senior coroner for York and North Yorkshire, said the provisional cause of death is chest injuries at the inquest opening yesterday.

He adjourned the inquest and said a date for the next hearing will be set in due course.

Felicity Francis suffered severe chest injuries when she fell from her pony while riding with members of The Bedale Hunt on land near Northallerton on September 15 (file photo of the Bedale Hunt)

A statement issued by the Bedale Hunt said: ‘We can confirm that Michael Francis, father of the late Felicity, is a joint master and huntsman of the Bedale Hunt.

‘The thoughts of all those connected with the hunt and the wider hunting community remain with the Francis family to whom we extend our sincere condolences.’

The accident happened on Penfold Terrace, a country lane leading out of the village of in Kirkby Fleetham and into surrounding fields.

The hunt are known to frequently hunt on the nearby fields.

A spokesman for the hunt said at the time members were ‘devastated’.

The spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that a tragic accident happened on Wednesday, 15 September, when a two-year-old girl fell from her pony and subsequently lost her life.

The toddler, from Northallerton, was the daughter of Michael Francis, joint huntmaster of the Bedale Hunt. She was pronounced dead at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle, pictured 

‘As a community, we are all completely devastated but are pulling together to support the family involved.

‘Our sincere condolences go to all those affected and we urge that everybody respects the family’s privacy during what is a very distressing time.’

North Yorkshire police said at the time: ‘Police are compiling a report on behalf of the coroner following the tragic death of a two-year-old girl, who was involved in a horse riding-related incident on land at Kirkby Fleetham, near Northallerton.

‘It occurred at around 8am on Wednesday and the girl died at hospital during the early hours of Thursday.’

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