End of an Era for our Group

24 September 2020

in The Latest News

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It is with a heavy heart that I bring sad news today that Beryl Sainsbury, our founder, passed away peacefully in her sleep on 14th September, just before her 99th birthday.

In the early Summer, fifty two years ago, Mrs Beryl Sainsbury MBE (then Mrs Douglas and a Physiotherapist) was persuaded by Mr Gallagher, the orthopaedic Consultant at Stratford Hospital to accompany him to the first National Conference of the Advisory Council on Riding for the Disabled.  During the Conference Mrs Douglas was “elected to volunteer” to start a Group in Stratford, so on August 5th 1968, it became the fiftieth British Group riding then at Windmill Farm.

In 1969, the Advisory Council became the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).  From those first 50 Groups RDA has risen to more than 500 throughout the UK and is lucky enough to have HRH The Princess Royal as its President to whom Beryl has been presented many times.  Today, it has more than 19,000 volunteers making a real and lasting difference to the lives of RDA’s 30,000 riders, vaulters and carriage drivers, a feat that Beryl was always so proud to have been a part of.

Beryl was awarded her MBE for her services to RDA.  She was West Mercia Regional Physiotherapist from 1982 – 1989 and was Stratford upon Avon Group Organiser for its first 33 years and attended every Christmas party and awards ceremony until her health deteriorated.  She will be remembered fondly for her enthusiasm, kindness and boundless energy by many of our riders, volunteers and members of Groups in the West Mercia Region and we feel so pleased that she was able to share our 50th Anniversary celebrations with us and be presented to HRH The Princess Royal for her last time.

Our very best wishes and condolences go to her daughters, Sarah and Marilyn and extended family.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sarah Douglas October 10, 2020 at 1:10 pm

A very BIG thankyou from our family for the outpouring of love and affection shown towards our dear Mum, Beryl.
We were most touched to see so many familiar faces at our small service a few days ago and also thankyou for all the messages of condolence. It certainly has made everything a little easier to have so much support.
Mum LOVED her RDA and in fact it was really her life and Bless her but in her last months she continued to worry about her Tuesday Rides and wanted to be sure everyone knew she would be back the following Tuesday. Not bd for 98 eh?
We very much hope that we will see many of you at her memorial service at Holy Trinity in Stratford.
Who knows when but probably and hopefully around her 100th birthday in September of 2021.


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