Riding for the Disabled volunteer recognised for exceptional service

Wanda Reynolds receives her award from HRH Princess Royal.

A long-serving member of Richmond & Catterick Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group has been presented with a president’s award by Princess Anne.

The ward is the most prestigious volunteer award within RDA and is awarded for exceptional service  over a period of more than 30 years.

The group says Wanda has always been hands-on, establishing the first Swinton Castle pony rides in 2003, and assisted in setting up regular Saturday rides for hard-to-reach disabled people in 2008 and partnering with local schools to deliver services to disabled students.

All these initiatives continue today.

A lifelong hearing disability means that she has deep insight into the needs of disabled people, their aspirations, and the challenges they face.

As a result of her unwavering faith in those who, in other circumstances, would have been written off, many having been thrown a lifeline they would not otherwise have received.

Throughout her long association with RDA, Wanda has helped disabled people, especially children, to realise their potential, gain confidence and also gain immense pleasure from riding.

Group chairman, David Summers, who accompanied Wanda to Warwickshire, said: “This is such an achievement.

“It was indeed well-deserved recognition of the outstanding dedication that Wanda has given to the Richmond & Catterick RDA Group.

“For 45 years Wanda has given exceptional, unstinting, dedicated service in encouraging disabled people to ride.

“She has been a leading light in the Richmond & Catterick RDA Group, carrying out many roles.

“Twice she has been the Chair, handing over the reins to me last year. Wanda remains a trustee and the group organiser and at various times she has also been an instructor, fundraiser, and helper – she is an inspiration to us all.

“I know that we all thank and congratulate Wanda on this award and for all she’s done, and continues to do, especially getting the Wednesday lessons up and running.

“Above all, she has been the lynchpin in helping the group to grow and prosper.”

The group is completely volunteer-led, from instructors to leaders and side-walkers of the horses.

More volunteers – young and old – are always needed and welcome — Richmond & Catterick currently has some volunteers working towards their DofE awards.

For more information on the group, click here.