Volunteers Royally Honoured with RDA President’s Awards

Five award winners holding their certificates presented to them by HRH Princess Anne, they all smile happily, wrapped up in winter coats.
Award winners pictured, left to right: Julie Elphee, Christine Chadwick, Joan Waters, Michael Butcher and Joyce Kent.

In January, five volunteers were presented with RDA’s most prestigious award, for outstanding service to RDA over a period of 30 years or more.

Travelling from across the UK, these incredible volunteers were presented their award by RDA president HRH The Princess Royal at the opening of the Platinum Jubilee Stables and the Nantwich & District RDA Centre at Reaseheath Equestrian College. RDA wishes each volunteer a huge congratulations and thank you for their unwavering dedication.

Julie Elphee – Unicorn Centre Group, Trustee and Committee Member, Yorkshire       

Julie, since her early volunteering with the Great Ayton Group in 1986, has played a significant part in the success of the Unicorn Centre, and now 25 years later, is still a shining beacon of volunteering at what has become a major RDA centre offering riding and events virtually every day.

Julie’s unselfish attitude, great knowledge of the RDA ethos, and her unwavering leadership/participation in the management of the Unicorn Centre is highlighted by its status in the local community as a centre of excellence, and she thoroughly deserves formal recognition.

Christine Chadwick – Avon Centre Group, Group Coach, Mid-West

Christine has supported the Avon Group in a variety of different ways since she joined in 1987 and her ability to ‘multitask’ and willingness to get involved has been incredible. Her skills are wide ranging and varied – from inspiring coaching to delivering a magical live RDA Nativity with participants, volunteers, staff and horses. Using her skills as a seamstress and her determination to make everything work has enhanced participants’ experiences, both in regular weekly sessions and special performances from ordinary to exceptional.

Joan Waters – Isle of Man Group, Group Chairman and Coach Co-ordinator, North-West

As Chairperson, Joan goes above and beyond to ensure the group benefits from the wider RDA community. Growth lead by Joan’s vision has seen holidays to Clwyd, participation at the Nationals, musical rides, proficiency tests, Endeavour awards, arts and crafts, creative writing participation, the list goes on!

Despite her difficult personal circumstances over the last year, she continues to support and mentor new committee members, rides and volunteers.  Her wisdom, experience and personal catchphrase of it’s “All about the Kids” is at the heart of the success the group has become.

Michael Butcher – Pembrokeshire, Group Trustee, South Wales, Regional Coach, Show Jumping Rep and National Coach Developer

One of Mike’s proudest achievements is the pivotal role he played in introducing showjumping as an RDA discipline over 10 years ago. His drive and determination to make this a reality and provide coaches and participants with the skills to develop their riding activities to even higher levels than before is proof of his belief that RDA is invaluable as a means of allowing anyone to achieve their potential through the medium of horses. Over the years participation in showjumping has increased to such an extent that it has become one of the most popular events of the National Championships.

Joyce Kent – Muirfield Riding Therapy,  Group Coach, Edinburgh & Borders

Joyce has been a dedicated RDA volunteer for over 40 years.  Her commitment to equine welfare and to the development of participants is exceptional.  She willingly shares her knowledge and experience with fellow coaches and is passionate about supporting her participants to achieve their best.  She supports the Group’s fundraising efforts and has raised thousands of pounds over the years. Always the first to volunteer to help she is a key and much-loved member of the Muirfield Riding Therapy family.  Not shy of hard work, Joyce has shown dedication, commitment and enthusiasm way beyond her peers.