TRIBUTES have been paid to a Vale of Clwyd woman who loved the countryside.
Mavis Muir, better known to her friends and family as Ben, died just five hours before the start of her one hundreth year and four months before she would have become a centenarian.
Her family said her life was governed by consideration for family and friends and her love for the countryside.
After leaving Howells’ School she developed her life-long passion for horses by starting a riding school, an event recalled by The Princess Royal who met Ben during a visit to the school 75 years later.
When war came in 1939 all the North Wales horses were requisitioned for duties in Egypt, and she enlisted as a FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry), driving ambulances and motorcycles.
She was promoted to the artillery and commanded anti-aircraft gun emplacements in South Wales and London.
After the war she married Stephen Muir, an Intelligence Officer, moving to Thurso and then to North Cheshire where she started a 30-year career as a horse-breeder and riding teacher.
Each of her daughters, Paula and Fiona, became successful event riders and carried on the equine tradition by founding the Orchard Stud and the Seize the Day Racing Partnership.
After Stephen suffered a stroke in 1978, Mrs Muir cared for him until his death in 1985.
She re-entered active social life and rapidly developed a reputation for horse-breeding, hospitality, gardening and bridge.
Her family added that she was never distracted by advancing age and seemed to get more active as she got older.
After 28 years as “a very merry widow”, she was incapacitated by a severe pelvic vein thrombosis and died soon afterwards after a brief period at Glan Clwyd Hospital, where her family said she was superbly cared for.
At the funeral service in Llandyrnog, Mrs Muir's coffin was drawn to the parish church by a 16 hand Irish Clydesdale cross horse called Neville.
A public celebratory service will be held in Ben Muir’s memory at 12 midday on Saturday, 26th April 2014, the one hundredth anniversary of her birth.
The service will take place at St Asaph Cathedral.
All are welcome to attend.