Bart Hellyer 1950 – 2024

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the death of a former founder member, Bart Hellyer, on Friday, 5th April.

Bart was brought up in Braunston in Rutland. He attended the prep school, Cothill House in Oxfordshire, followed by Uppingham School in 1963, and then Exeter University to study law. Whilst at Exeter, in April 1970, Bart, who was a keen horseman, sustained a life-changing injury at Garthorpe Point to Point, when his horse “Blue Ivy” fell. Following many months of rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville, borne with Bart’s lifelong stoicism, he returned to Exeter to complete his studies. He then took his articles at the International law firm Clifford Chance, before joining London law firm Allen and Overy.

With Baroness Masham, (who had also sustained a major back injury in a riding accident in her early twenties) he became a founder member and trustee of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) in 1974. From thence, having successfully raised funds for the association, he took on his first injury claims case. This marked the beginning of his professional career representing and supporting injured claimants all over the world. In addition, he established the International Paraplegics Claim Service, racking up over 6000 cases.

His lifelong passion for horses remained undimmed and in the world of horse racing he had some success. Notably “Young Spartacus” who won the Racing Post Chase in 2000, and The Mildmay of Flete at The Cheltenham Festival in 2003.

He also spent 8 happy years married to Rebecca Helmsley, who very sadly died of cancer in 2004 and is buried at Ridlington, near their home.

Bart was High Sheriff of Rutland in 2012/2013. It gave him an important platform and enabled him to increase the awareness of the poor state and standards of wheelchair access in this county and beyond. To this end he often took people and institutions to task, in order to support the work of the SIA in its fight for better equality. He then held the position of Deputy Lieutenant until April 2018, when he was invited to stand as Vice Lord Lieutenant by Dr Sarah Furness, Lord Lieutenant of Rutland.

Until his final day he was enjoying watching the racing at Cheltenham, the cricket, playing bridge and entertaining family and many friends.

We will miss his boundless energy and enthusiasm, his humour and intelligence. He was unique, a true fighter.

We send out best wishes to his family and friends at this very sad time.