RDA presents one-off awards to recognise COVID challenges

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has recognised the particular challenge faced by its groups during 2020 with series of one-off awards presented at the charity’s virtual AGM. The four ‘Brilliant’ awards acknowledge the dedication of the RDA community throughout lockdown and the gradual restarting of activities.

Brilliant Person Award, sponsored by Childs Farm

Trish Clarke of Gareloch RDA won this award for her creative, problem-solving attitude and everything she has done to keep her group engaged and together during lockdown. Her nominator said: “Trish always sees a problem as an exciting challenge and her enthusiasm and caring personality have enhanced and improved our whole group. Thank you Trish, you’re an inspiration.”

In her acceptance speech, filmed and shown at RDA’s virtual AGM, Trish said “I am honoured and delighted. The RDA is a great organisation, and one that I am proud to be associated with. One of the core strengths of RDA is its ability to foster teamwork and I am lucky to work with a fantastic group of people. This award is a tribute to their hard work and support.”

Brilliant Young Person, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

RDA rider Teagan Murphy was the deserving recipient of this award. Teagan wanted to ensure that the ponies at her group had enough to eat during lockdown. In order to raise money, she cycled 55km in stages around her local area with the support of her family. Her original aim of £200 was well and truly beaten with her final total of £1,380.

Brilliant RDA Group, sponsored by Oliver Wight

Equipower RDA won this award for their extraordinary efforts to keep their riders and volunteers engaged during lockdown. They ran fitness classes, mental health support services, educational activities, fundraisers and more.

Ettrickbridge & Dryden group were highly commended in this category for their weekly ‘horsey homeworks’ for schools, regular news-drops and zoom social events.

RDA UK Award, sponsored by Andrews Bowen

Natalie O’Rourke of Park Lane Stables won this award. With stables closing due to the pandemic Natalie was concerned that RDA participants at her group would not be getting their equine therapy. Undaunted, she took a pony to local adults and children in lockdown to brighten up their day. She also visited the children of key workers at schools, elderly people in care homes and a child in Great Ormond Street. Natalie is now running Stable Management and Wellbeing in Wellies sessions, which are proving to be very popular.

Anne Allen was highly commended in this category. She opened up her own stables in order to provide a venue for her group, teaching horse care, feeding, grooming and taking part in a specially devised obstacle course.

Watch the citations and acceptances on the RDA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/rdanational

Find out more about the life-changing work of RDA at www.rda.org.uk