Epsom Riding for the Disabled Association marked its 50th Birthday with more than 300 volunteers, riders, families and guests enjoying a tea party at its home St Ebba’s Farm, Hook Road. Guests enjoyed an afternoon of live music, tea and cakes against a backdrop of the charity’s horses and ponies munching hay in the sunshine.
The event focussed on celebrating the commitment and contribution of Epsom RDA’s team of volunteers. Long service awards were presented to more than fifty people ranging from 10 years to almost 50 years service. Lynda Sears and Jill Messer received special recognition as the charity’s longest serving volunteers with an incredible 48 and 47 years’ commitment respectively.
Displays of Epsom RDA’s “past” showed that it all began in 1969 in a small field with four volunteers and a Shetland pony called Bubbles. 50 years on the charity has a 16 acre site, 14 ponies and operates 7 days a week, rain or shine, providing opportunities for more than 350 disabled riders.
Gill McPherson, Group Chair said “None of this would be possible without the consistent and generous commitment of our fantastic team of volunteers, and support of our community. Thank you!”
The fun and camaraderie shared by riders, volunteers and family members alike was apparent throughout the day. Looking to the future, plans were shared for further development of facilities at St Ebba’s Farm. Councillor John Beckett, Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, presented awards to the large dedicated team of Young Volunteers who give time at weekends and evenings to continue the charity’s work. Representatives from Music in Nork Park also presented a cheque for the wonderful sum of £6000 raised from donations at their event earlier in the year.
Epsom Riding for the Disabled Association (Epsom RDA) provides disabled people with the opportunity to ride to benefit their health and well-being. It provides over 3,000 riding lessons for 350 disabled adults and children.
Epsom RDA is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Charity Number 1180061) and a member group of the national Riding For The Disabled Association and is entirely funded by donations and our own fundraising efforts.
Photos by Steven McCormick Photography