PAM WILES: Countrywoman and great Norfolk supporter of hunting

Norfolk's hunting community will meet next week to pay their respects at a memorial service for Pam Wiles, who has died aged 85.

A former master of the North Norfolk Harriers, she was a tireless presence at hunting events and at Fakenham races for more than half a century in her adopted county.

Born into a hunting family in the West Country, where her father was master of the Quarme Harriers and the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, she first hunted at the age of four and a half.

She was youngest of four and, as two brothers died as teenagers of meningitis, she was running the family's estate before she left school.

Shortly after the end of the second world war, she moved to Lammas, near Aylsham. Her oldest son Jamie was born of her first marriage, which did not last.

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Then in 1953 she married John Wiles. They two sons, Christopher and Stephen, and a daughter, Caroline. Later they lived at Swannington Hall and later at Swannington Upgate.

She broke her back during a bad hunting accident in 1958 but, always determined, she resumed riding and was invited to assume the joint mastership of the North Norfolk Harriers in 1978.

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Although the harriers were her first love, she later became a joint master of the Norfolk Beagles Hound Club. This had been hunted from its formation in 1976 by the master, John Austen. In 1987, Pam became a joint master for about three years until the pack was drafted to Italy.

As a member of the field, she could follow in her little car, often tackling roads and tracks that drivers of more robust four-wheel drive vehicles would avoid. And when hounds met, she would always help whips of the harriers or beagles with road duty, mounting a flashing light on top of her car. When the 'North' was invited to Holkham Hall for the traditional new year meet, Pam would be at the gates with a bucket inviting contributions. Her 'tin shaking' helped many other good causes over the years and also helped the community car scheme and Age Concern in Brisley, where she lived.

In the past 15 years, she promoted the bluebell walks through the woods at Stratton Strawless to raise funds for the local church.

She died peacefully on Saturday, September 18.

Roger Bradbury, who is senior Master of the North Norfolk, has been invited to deliver a tribute.

'She was an amazing character and will be greatly missed by us all,' he said.

A service at St Mary's Church, North Elmham, on Thursday at 2pm, has been organised by Caroline's family. She has asked for donations to be shared between the Royal British Legion and Dereham Operatic Society.

Pam Wiles leaves four children and is survived by her 94-year-old brother, John Houlder.

Michael Pollitt

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