RDA, Badminton Charity of the Year, is celebrating the generosity of visitors to the 5-day event after raising almost £40,000. With bucket collections, raffle, mechanical horse rides, course walks, programme sales, contributions from ticket sales and even taking tea with a pony, Badminton visitors showed their support in every way possible. The vital funds will be used to help RDA reach more people with its life-changing activities all over the UK.
More than 160 RDA volunteers leant their support to the fundraising effort over the 5 days. This included Anne Allen from Wellow RDA, whose miniature Shetland ponies delighted visitors and helped to raise awareness of RDA’s newest initiative supporting people living with Dementia, Tea with a Pony.
Sunday saw RDA President HRH The Princess Royal meeting RDA supporters and volunteers at the Rural Planning Solutions’ Lakeside Pavilion. Badminton winner and previous RDA UK Chair Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE was one of several experienced competitors leading fundraising course walks over the weekend, including current RDA UK Chair Rachel Medill and RDA Coach Bridget Mackwood.
RDA Interim Chief Executive, Paul Ringer, attending Badminton for the first time, said: “We are so grateful to the organisers and visitors for going above and beyond to help us reach such a fantastic fundraising total. This was a great team effort on behalf of RDA, with support from our President, hundreds of volunteers and the staff from our National Office. Everywhere I went over the weekend, whether on our stand, bucket collecting in the car parks or at the Lakeside Pavilion, there was huge warmth and gratitude for RDA’s work.”
Badminton Horse Trials Director, Jane Tuckwell said: “We very much enjoyed working with the RDA team this year and seeing their activities and plans come to fruition – the tea in the park was particularly popular initiative. All the activities were enjoyed by the guests whom visited their stand.
“It is fantastic to hear that a substantial amount was raised to help with RDA with their ongoing activities to make a real difference by providing life-changing experiences for disabled children and adults across the UK, together with awareness of the many different ways they help both.”
“Rachel Vaughan-Johns, RDA Regional Chair for Mid-West manned the RDA stand every day, drumming up support and supervising rides on mechanical horse Charley. “Badminton is always a highlight for RDA, and it was great to be back after a break of 3 years. The atmosphere at our stand and around the whole event was fantastic. As well as the donations, it was heartening to have so many people coming to ask about volunteering opportunities with RDA and our campaign to get more horses. We’re already looking forward to next year.”
With interviews and features on Radio Badminton, The Chatzone and Badminton TV, the event was also a great opportunity to raise awareness of RDA’s work more generally, as the charity sets its sights on supporting 10,000 more participants as part of an ambitious 3-year strategy.