Sausages, Sandwiches, Smiles and Father Christmas

20 December 2016

in Events, Sponsors & Supporters, The Latest News, The Riders, Volunteers

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Over 100 members and friends of our Group gathered in the local community centre to celebrate success and to say a HUGE THANK YOU to their many sponsors, helpers and colleagues. Over a beautifully prepared and lovingly served buffet DONNA JENKINS the Group Chairman, conducted a brilliantly delivered and very cheerful awards ceremony. On hand to present the trophies, rosettes and prizes was Ed Bracher the Chef Executive of RDA. Ed, who knows the Group well as RDA National office team spend time there as volunteers side-walking. How apt that he was able to see riders and volunteers being recognised for their achievements.

It was a special event also for BERYL SAINSBURY at 95 years young she was delighted to see the Group she started 48 or so years ago is still striving. “Oh I started up Stratford many years ago as I was a Physiotherapist working there. My consultant Mr Gallagher simply said, “I think this idea of using a horse for therapy is a really good one, you are going to start a Group”. “Am I?!” I exclaimed, “but I just had to get on with it”. Well as the Group approaches 50 years old, I am thrilled that we have helped so many to gain self confidence, to improve their health and to enjoy the fun of riding.”img_5727

Also on hand with beaming smiles was RITA KIMBERGER, Zone Chair of the Lions Club of Banbury clutching and very pleased to hand over a giant cheque for £600 raised following a Fun Ride in the September. Alison and Sonia two sponsors of the group from the Warwickshire Ladies Keep Fit presented a cheque for £300 raised by their lady participants, “because they simply love to support what the Group does for so many folk to get and keep fit on horse – back”.


Karen Arnold, the Group Coach, was masterful in getting the award recipients to say a little of what they had achieved and huge applause rang out at the mention of riders who now achieve a canter stride with their various ponies. Star of the show, who could not be there as he was tucked up in his box, was BADGER the most popular horse in the Group. BADGER was a gift some 4 years ago from Tom and Liz HALES who “simply love the Group and what it delivers for our community”. Tom and Liz presented their new award for the highest achiever at Countryside Challenge to Jo PRATT recognising the special achievement in the Warwickshire Fun Day in July.

Recognising the hard work, dedication and commitment of the volunteer was a special feature of the ceremony. Awards were presented to around 10 volunteers some of whom have gained YELA Bronze and Silver certificates, others the Over and Above award

and a special mention was given to HAZEL WEST whose dedication and commitment was recognised by the RDA Silver Jubilee Award for 25 years service to RDA. “Without people like you whose enthusiasm is infectious we could not do what we do.

This year we have provided a new record of 1010 rides a massive achievement,” added Donna, again drowned out by a crescendo of applause and calls of delight. Father Christmas then was called and welcomed with his sack of presents for the riders. What a great afternoon amongst a band of vibrant, enthusiastic and committed fellows who very proudly call themselves “TEAM STRATFORD”, and what a great Team they are!


Here is the full list of the 2016 Stratford upon Avon RDA award recipients:

Tracey Perks (nee Clarke) – Consistently tries hard – Neil Cox

Neil Hancock – Very good progress – Louis Thomas with special rosette to Arthur Duggan

Mary Hughes – Fortitude & Perseverance – Lewis Tandy

Heather Rhead – Confidence – Harrison Oldrey

Pauline Richards – Meet the Challenge – Matthew Anderson

Claudia Paul – Determination – Ellis Thomas

Claudia Paul award for being a ‘daredevil’ – Anna Harper

Jack Showjumping award for highest mark overall at Qualifiers – Charlotte Seager with special Rosette to Jack Tandy

Countryside Challenge award for the highest mark overall at Qualifiers or Fun Day – A new award this year donated and presented by Tom & Liz Hales  – Jo Pratt

South – most improved Adult rider – Peter Colby

Liz Jackson award – most improved junior rider – A new award this year presented by Simon Jackson – Scarlett Lee Lewis

Congratulations to our riders who attained RDA Proficiency Riding and Horse Care Awards the certificates and badges they have received during the year namely

Jules Reed and Peter Colby who received their Grade 2 Riding & Horsecare last January

Grade 1 Riding and Horse Care

Ellis Thomas

Louis Thomas

Issy Whitehouse

And Grade 2 Riding

Sasha Simmonet

Jack Tandy

Lewis Tandy

Endeavour Certificates

Neil, Jo, Jules, Jo White, & Anna for Carriage Driving at Clwyd

Scarlett Lee Lewis – for learning leg aids to ask Marco to walk on

Jessica Mann – for achieving independent balance and consistently holding handle.

Stratford RDA Achievement Award – Sasha Simmonet – for his great results at his first ever time at the RDA National Championships – 2nd in the combined Dressage and Countryside Challenge

Volunteer Awards nominated by our Trustees and Committee

Boris – always willing – Jan Beattie

Young Volunteer – Toby Cripps

Volunteer Over & Above Certificates

Christine Elliott

Gail Reynolds

Sue Molyneaux Warner

Ann Snowden

Max Lloyd-Thomas

Young Volunteers – Alice Delaney, Toby Cripps and Lulu Oyambu who have completed their Young Equestrian Leaders Bronze Award (YELA) and Alice Hanson who has achieved her YELA Silver award.

Silver Jubilee Award

Our final certificate goes to a special lady who has been volunteering with the RDA for 25 years and has been an invaluable and dedicated member of our Group not only as a session helper but also the lady who opened up her home to host our Adult Rider Summer lunch and Christmas parties for so many years. She has always been an amazing advocate to the Group and has held various fundraisers and used her powers of persuasion to gain tremendous support and not just financially. We all wish we had your energy.

For 25 years of volunteering with RDA – Hazel West – Thank you so much to you all for your commitment to RDA. img_5787

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