Peggy (Margaret) Pacey,1918 – 2013

PPaceonmcycle.bandw competing
Rob Forsyth 

Peggy was a well known and redoubtable character around the parish from post WWII until illness confined her to her bed in the final years. Here she continued to receive the large number of her friends and acquaintances under the ever watchful eye of Jason (who ran her yard), Heather (who cared for her) and a changing selection of dogs, cats and hens who provided advance warning of visitors!  I saw quite a lot of her in these later years while researching her war-time experiences for A Parish at War. Her Personal Story in this book can be found HERE. Her memories of her wartime escapades were both numerous and humorous giving a strong hint of the very mischievous and 'devil-may-care' young lady she must have been. I have no doubt that her meeting with Winston Churchill included a lot of laughter about her motor cycle escapade.Sadly lack of space precluded including all of them in the book. A recent addition to these, which came to light in a scrap album post her death, is her advice as to how to handle amphibious vehicles known as DUKWs (pronounced Ducks).

There have been several other pieces written about Peggy and Park Farm over the years and particularly by Bea Bathe post her death. These are listed, together with links to the relevant articles, below.

Memorial Service - 30 August 2013

The Order of Service can be found HERE. It contains some interesting photographs including with The Queen  and standing up bareback on her pony

A verbatim transcript of Angus' tribute to Peggy's life, delivered at the Memorial Service on 30 August 2013, can be found HERE. Angus was a former jockey and long time friend.

Banbury Guardian

An article announcing her Breeder of the Month award published 17 April 1986 can be found HERE

Her Obituary published 29 August 2013 can be found HERE

Deddington News

March 1983 - an article by Bill Mace. The original scan is too faded to read easily so click HERE to see an enhanced version; but if you wish to see the original magasine it can be found HERE

November 2013 - "Well Remembered" by Beatrice Bathe

Peggy Pacey had lived in Deddington for around 70 years when she died in August this year. She was born in 1918 near Rugby, to Cyril and May. May was accomplished in the world of dog showing, and still holds the world record for breeding the greatest number of champion West Highland Terriers. May and Peggy were very close, and May, having also a brilliant eye for horses, inspired and enabled Peggy to enter the world of horse showing. Peggy was unstoppable; winning from the age of four, at increasingly high-level competition. By the age of 10, she was selected for the English team and went to compete in France. In classes most similar today as showing hacks, hunters and show jumping, she won at Horse of the Year Show, Olympia, Royal Highland, Bath and West, Richmond and the Three Counties. One pony was a 14.2 named Snap Dragon, bought from Banbury Market under guidance of family friend Jack Bletsoe, of Deddington. Snap Dragon and Peggy went on to play polo together outside the show ring, and in 1938 Peggy and three Balding sisters won the British Ladies Open Polo Championship. Peggy joined the war-effort and in 1939 became a dispatch rider for the WAAFs. Peggy received personal thanks from Mr Churchill having driven her bike nearly the length of the country on a vile February night to deliver a package. Peggy also tested machinery, including amphibious personnel carriers (DUKWs) on the river Severn. After the war, she came to Park Farm, Deddington to work for Jack Bletsoe, a prolific horse dealer, supplying hunters to the (then) Prince of Wales, amongst many others. On Jack’s death, Peggy bought the farm in 1961 and began her independent career with ‘one large mortgage and one small cow’. She frequently judged throughout the world at all the shows she had previously won, Royal Dublin, and the dog show, Crufts. Her talents brought her attention despite her modesty; the Queen invited Peggy to Balmoral to her Highland Pony Stud. The Queen asked Peggy* to consider whether she might stand one of her stallions here in Deddington, to help promote and make accessible the breed. After much consideration, however, Peggy had to decline. She successfully bred racehorses and was awarded ‘Leading National Hunt Breeder’ in 1983. She also won Best Pen of Cattle in Banbury Market – an accomplishment that almost gave her more pleasure than any other, considering what a male-dominated industry it was. Peggy continued to farm in Deddington for the rest of her life; her warmth, charm and quick wit remained with her, and are as sorely missed as her expert guidance.

* A photograph of Peggy with HM The Queen on another occasion can be seen HERE

Further articles:

In August 2013 Deddington mourned the passing of Peggy Pacey, the owner of Park Farm, paying tribute to her courage and determination. These qualities were evident, not only during her wartime experience, but also in her extraordinary achievements pre- and post-war, particularly, but not exclusively, in the world of horse showing and breeding. Described by Angus Irwin in his tribute to her as a ‘redoubtable’ and a ‘formidable’ lady, she has left a legacy of practical good sense to guide and inspire her successors.

Jason Maloney, the new owner of Park Farm, and his partner, Beatrice Bathe, look to Peggy’s experience and example in running the farm today. Beatrice will be sharing with us some of these special memories and pieces of advice in a series of seasonal articles titled 22Ha (Ed: 22 Hectares being the size of Park Farm) listed below:

DN December 2014 - Scroll to page 9 of this issue

DN February 2015 - Scroll to page 7 of this issue

Photograph albums

There are two albums to view in the Gallery containing pictures of:

Peggy in peacetime

Peggy in wartime