‘Best Ever’ Gala Awards is a star-studded night to remember

In a star-studded night of celebration, the third RDA Gala Awards recognised the achievements and dedication of riders, volunteers, horses and more. Host of the evening, Clare Balding was joined by Alastair Stewart, Natasha Baker, Anneka Rice, Scott Quinnell and Jonathan Agnew.

Gala Awards celebrates the riders, volunteers, RDA Groups, horses, local businesses and vets who all help to make the charity so special. An important fundraiser for RDA, the night raised a fantastic £25,000. Clare Balding became auctioneer for the evening, helping to raise a record-breaking amount for the charity.

Broadcaster and journalist Alastair Stewart made the after dinner speech, praising the work of RDA. This year’s event took place at Lord’s, the home of Cricket, so it was only fitting that broadcaster and cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew was on hand to entertain guests on a special tour of the site. 

Welsh Rugby legend Scott Quinnell came as the guest of People’s Postcode Lottery. He also signed rugby shirts for the auction, helping to raise £900 on that one lot alone.

This year’s award winners are:

RDA group brilliant Idea (sponsored by Automotive Insulation Ltd): Wenlo RDA for their young person’s committee

Business of the Year (sponsored by BETA): Netro42 for the creation of the RDA South East website

Vet of the Year (sponsored by Merial Animal health): Nathalie Cole of Liphook Equine

Horse of the Year (sponsored by SnuggyHoods): Prince from Penniwells RDA

Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Perkins Slade): Kate Bennet of Gareloch RDA

Most Improved Participant (sponsored by Childs Farm): Ellie Livingstone of Ravelrig RDA.

Ellie is an eleven year-old rider and fundraiser, who has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. She uses a wheelchair and her ‘tight’ muscles can make it difficult and uncomfortable for her to ride. Her hands are also affected, and she has to work really hard to maintain contact with her reins.

She is desperate to progress her riding, however, and pushes herself to the limit. She listens to her coaches and works hard at sitting up tall. Ellie always gives 100% to her lessons. Her ambition is to ride in the Olympics – a dream her coaches believe she has the tenacity to realise.

In addition to her riding achievements, and being an active fundraiser for RDA, she takes part in Volunteer training days, helping people to understand the challenges she faces, and how she wants to be treated like an individual – not someone with a disability.

In private this rider’s challenges sometimes make her feel different and sad, but she always arrives at RDA with a huge, infectious smile. Her mum says: “horse riding and everything associated with RDA is her lifeline. Not only is she receiving physiotherapy, she is also challenged, and part of a community.”

 Ed&Celebs a 2015Gala

Left to right:
RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher, Paralympian Natasha Baker, Rugby legend and People’s Postcode Lottery Ambassador Scott Quinnell, Clare Balding, Anneka Rice, Alastair Stewart and Jonathan Agnew.

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Ellie receives her award from Clare Balding

Page Last Updated: October 5, 2015