Horses, sport, law and politics -‘the man of many parts’

Sir Michael Connell pictured at the  University of Northampton's Park Campus ahead of a media law lecture for students in 2011.

Sir Michael Connell pictured at the University of Northampton's Park Campus ahead of a media law lecture for students in 2011.

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A stalwart of the Grafton Hunt who died earlier this year has been described as a generous man in mind and spirit.

Sir Michael Connell of Steane Park near Brackley was a well known High Court Judge and famously led the inquiry into the 1993 Grand National ‘that never was”.

He died on January 30 this year after suffering from leukaemia.

Born in Luton, Sir Mich­ael took over as Master of the Grafton Hunt from his father in 1973 and moved to Steane Park around 20 years later.

Grafton’s honorary secretary Phillippa White said he went on to be one of the hunt’s longest serving masters and stood down in 1995.

She said: “He was an exceptional field master and went across country very well, and he was certainly someone to follow and generally a very good leader.”

Sir Michael went to Brasenose College, Oxford where he had been master of the hounds and was involved in point to point racing, breeding and racing horses all his life. He also followed test match cricket and had a love of international rugby.

Miss White added: “He was a friendly man and extremely generous in mind and spirit. I gather from his sons he was also a golfer, he was certainly a man of many parts.”

Neighbour, Lady Juliet Townsend, Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire said hundreds of people attended a memorial service held in the chapel at Steane Park and added: “He was a charming man and very modest, to talk to him you wouldn’t know he was anyone important. He was a much-loved person and we will miss him very much.”

Sir Michael leaves behind wife Anne, three sons and one daughter.