TRIBUTES have been paid to former Cirencester Park Polo Club chairman, Major Christopher Hanbury, who has died aged 78.

Here, another former club chairman - Kuldip Singh Dhillon - pays tribute.

"Christopher Osgood Philip Hanbury was a gentleman, a family man, polo player, businessman and significant philanthropist. He was born on February 16 1944 in County Meath Ireland, where he hunted with the Meath and Ballymacad foxhounds.

"As a student at Cirencester’s Royal Agricultural University, he began to play polo, but didn’t play seriously until he joined the Irish Hussars in 1965 and played regimental polo in Germany.

"In 1973 Christopher went to Brunei as ADC to HRH The Sultan of Brunei and, whilst there, he also set up the famous Jerodung Park Polo Club. Christopher and His Majesty have remained firm friends over the years.

"Christopher’s polo career really took off when he was a playing member at Cirencester Park Polo Club, with his team Lovelocks, winning all of the most sought after trophies. 

"A much-loved personality within the sport and an astute businessman, Christopher went on to take a seat on the executive board of directors at Cirencester, culminating in his position as chairman of the club from 1995 to 1999.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Picture: Images of PoloPicture: Images of Polo

"Under his transformative leadership at CPPC, Christopher significantly elevated the ethos of raising money for worthy charities through the game of polo, supported for many years by HRH The Prince of Wales who played many charity games at the club.

"This period in the history of CPPC was its golden age where royalty, rock stars, actors, actresses and internationally renowned businessmen all came to CPPC to support the charities, both playing and spectating – all this down to Christopher’s incredible inspiration and larger than life personality. 

"His beloved wife Bridget was his rock throughout life, and especially supported him unwaveringly with his philanthropic work.

"No-one, it seems, was able to resist his charm when it came to fundraising. Christopher also served a term as chairman of the children’s charity, the Starlight Foundation.

"Christopher created a very well-respected polo pony stud in Argentina, Lovelocks Polo Stud, which is now managed by his family.

"In 2005 Christopher was appointed the chairman of the governing body of polo in Great Britain, the Hurlingham Polo Association from 2005 until 2008.

One of the most significant figures in polo


"Ultimately, Christopher was one of the most significant figures in polo, internationally renowned with friends and colleagues all over the world.

"Eventually Christopher and Bridget’s sons took on the reins of polo with great enthusiasm and delivered to Christopher one of the most sought-after trophies in the world, the British Open Gold Cup and Christopher was absolutely overjoyed.

"Christopher was much loved by all those who knew him, especially for his legendary sense of humour and his affable, caring demeanour.

"We, his friends and colleagues will sorely miss him."

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