HRH The Princess Royal has officially opened a new centre for Nantwich & District Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group at Reaseheath College.
The Princess Royal, long serving President of the RDA, opened the group’s dedicated Platinum Jubilee Stables and purpose built centre at Reaseheath’s Equestrian Centre in Nantwich.
She was welcomed by Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire Lady Alexis Redmond MBE, Sir Phil Redmond CBE, Reaseheath College Principal and CEO Marcus Clinton and Helena Vega-Lozano, new Chair of Trustees at RDA UK.
The Princess Royal has actively supported the charity for over 50 years and keeps informed about all aspects of its work. During the visit, The Princess Royal met some of the local group’s coaches and volunteers, supporters and trustees. Her Royal Highness also watched a demonstration by seven riders and ponies, talking to each individually and presenting them with a rosette, and later mingling with other riders and their families.
Herself an accomplished horsewoman, The Princess Royal ran an experienced eye over the new stable yard for the group’s equines. She also visited the new, fully accessible centre which includes a welfare space, training area and a purpose built room housing a sophisticated riding simulator complete with a hoist. Here The Princess Royal met six year old Rosie Robinson and adult rider Tim Quirk, who described the benefits of horse riding to both physical and mental health.
Her Royal Highness also met some of the group’s sponsors including Phil Keogh, a retired builder from Crewe, who funded and built the new centre with his team. She learned more about the latest technology in equipment from Racewood Simulators’ Managing Director Bill Greenwood and Dominic and Caroline Gill, Directors of Horseplay Hoists. The companies are among many to have supported the new facility.
After watching the riding demonstration in Reaseheath’s indoor arena, The Princess Royal presented RDA President’s Awards to five volunteers from throughout the UK who had made outstanding contributions to the charity and had each completed over 30 years of service. They were: Mike Butcher (Pembrokeshire RDA), Joan Waters (Isle of Man RDA Group), Joyce Kent (Muirfield RDA Group, Edinburgh) Julie Elphee (Unicorn Centre RDA Group, Yorkshire) and Christine Chadwick (Avon Centre RDA Group).
The Princess Royal also unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion and cut a celebration cake designed by Reaseheath Bakery Lecturer Sam Copeland and made by Professional Bakery students.
Nantwich & District RDA Group Chair Sheila Saner said: “It has been a great honour to welcome The Princess Royal here to officially open our wonderful new centre and meet some of our incredible riders and hard working volunteers.
“So many local people, organisations and businesses have supported us in different ways since we set up as a registered charity. It has been an honour to be able to invite them to such a special event as a way of thanking them for their commitment. Reaseheath College has welcomed us and we now have a permanent, secure home in which to grow and thrive to help people with disabilities in our local area”.
The RDA provides therapy, fitness, skills development and often life changing opportunities for children and adults with disabilities through the use of horses.
The Nantwich & District Group was launched in 2017 and is one of 438 UK centres. It has 50 active riders and a substantial waiting list. There are no paid staff and everyone involved is a volunteer. The total annual running costs of £28,500 are met by fund raising, donations and legacies.
Find out more: www.nantwichrda.org