A WORLD champion endurance horse rider hailed as ‘a legend’ has died.

Tributes have been paid for Liz Finney, 77, who passed away on Mother’s Day after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Liz, from Ollerton, leaves husband of 54 years, Peter, and daughters Debbie and Caroline.

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The lifelong equestrian was honoured to be presented to the late Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle with the British Endurance Team.

Knutsford Guardian: Liz Finney, centre, with, from left, Peter, Caroline, Debbie and Robin MoodieLiz Finney, centre, with, from left, Peter, Caroline, Debbie and Robin Moodie (Image: Finney family)

Liz started riding at an early age with her mum, Meg, and passed on her love of horses to her daughters.

Debbie said: “Our fondest memories of mum are jumping our Welsh ponies in the family’s fields and going on riding holidays in Somerset.”

Knutsford Guardian: Liz Finney, centre, with, from left, Caroline and DebbieLiz Finney, centre, with, from left, Caroline and Debbie (Image: Finney family)

Liz studied pharmaceuticals at university and started her career at ICI, now AstraZeneca in Alderley Edge, where she met Peter.

She worked as a pharmacist until three years ago.

Knutsford Guardian: Liz Finney with one of her beloved horses, BobbyLiz Finney with one of her beloved horses, Bobby (Image: Finney family)

Her family said: “She dedicated her professional life to helping others when they were sick. Her first thought was always for others.”

Knutsford Guardian: Liz Finney 'always thought of others'Liz Finney 'always thought of others' (Image: Finney family)

But her true calling was in the world of endurance riding.

Liz started competing in the 1970s on a mare called Show Girl II and the pair were regular fixtures at events across the UK and in international competitions.

Knutsford Guardian: Liz Finney and Show Girl IILiz Finney and Show Girl II (Image: Kath Kennedy)

With prowess and painstaking precision, she won a phenomenal amount of medals, including an individual silver medal at the first European Championships in France and gold at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm in 1990.

The family’s beloved Irish sport horse, Carland Venture led her to victory in countless competitions.

Knutsford Guardian: Liz Finney competing with CleoLiz Finney competing with Cleo (Image: Kath Kennedy)

In 1996, she rode in California’s 100-mile Tevis Cup, the hardest endurance ride in America.

Whilst excelling in her own competitions, Liz was Chef D’Equipe of the British Endurance Team on 14 occasions.

She officiated as an International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) judge in Europe, the US and Dubai and was president of the Ground Jury at the World Championships in 2012.

Liz was chairman of the British Endurance Riding Association until 1999.

She was also chairman of Cheshire Endurance Group, which she founded in 1991, and organised pleasure rides in Delamere Forest and Chelford to encourage those new to the sport.

As a competitor, Liz’s achievements have never been surpassed.

A family tribute said: “Liz will be greatly missed by her family, friends and the endurance riding community.

“She has been described by many as a ‘legend’, ‘idol’ and ‘great ambassador of the sport’.

“A memorial ride is being planned in her honour later this spring.”

Knutsford Guardian: Peter and Liz FinneyPeter and Liz Finney (Image: Finney family)

A funeral and celebration of Liz’s life will be held on Monday, April 3 at 4pm at Birches Remembrance Park and Crematorium in Lach Dennis, Northwich.

A reception will follow at The Golden Pheasant in Lower Peover.

The family requests living plants in lieu of flowers or donations to Pancreatic Cancer Research.

To donate visit togetherinmemory.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/In-Memory/Liz-Finney