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Fly Bite Near Death for Polo Lord


Lord Bathurst recently caught an infection from a deer fly or a Blandford fly became increasingly ill and three days later suffered multi-organ failure and had to be rushed to Critical Care in Cheltenham Hospital.

Lady Bathurst said her husband's life "hung in the balance" for four weeks and spent eight days in an induced coma to allow his system to fight the critical infection. Lady Bathurst an official representative of the Queen, said that, "against all odds", he eventually began to recover.

The 9th Earl Bathurst formerly Lord Apsley lives in the Cirencester Park mansion house with his wife Sara Countess Bathurst, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire. Lady Bathurst described her husband's return to the 5,500-acre Cirencester Park estate as Christmas coming early. "The happiest day in a long time. My darling husband home after 4 months in hospital. Xmas came early!"

It is suspected his infection came from an insect whose bite can cause severe repercussions. Doctors think he was bitten on his estate, which is home to Britain's oldest polo ground, Ivy Lodge, where members of the Royal Family have frequently played.

The polo club was founded in 1894 under the seventh Earl Bathurst with two grounds. Ivy Lodge became a ground in 1909 and Cirencester Park Polo club where Prince Charles and his sons Harry and William have regularly played leased the land from Gloria, the Dowager Countess Bathurst. The countess's husband was a polo enthusiast and president of the club. Her 3,000 acres include the Ivy Lodge clubhouse and a crucial main access road. In 2003 The Duchess was said to want to see the club become less commercial and return to a "gentleman's polo club". After her declaration, however, she relented and a new lease was signed.

The present Earl Bathurst Lord Bathurst has hosted polo matches for Princes William and Harry at Ivy Lodge and Cirencester Park Polo Club. In one memorable incident, Lord Bathurst's father, the eighth Earl Bathurst, gave Prince William a stern talking to when he was nearly run off the road by the then 20-year-old Prince's Volkswagen Golf after a polo match at the estate in 2003.

The Bathurst family traces its origins to Sussex, but lost its castle and estates there during the Wars of the Roses, when Laurence Bathurst was executed by Edward IV in 1463, for siding with the Lancastrians.