The Ruddington Group Riding for the Disabled (RDA) has just celebrated its Silver Jubilee with a special party on Saturday 19 October. The Group, which provides riding lessons and other equestrian activities to children from Nethergate School in Clifton, was established by Bradmore resident Diana Haddon and a group of likeminded friends in 1988.
The Group originally rode at a riding school in Ruddington but later moved to their current home at Bunny Hill Riding Centre. Diana – the Group’s only remaining founder member – has seen dozens of riders and helpers come and go over the years. And she was thrilled to be reunited with former Ruddington Group RDA staff members and even some of the original Nethergate teachers at the 25th birthday party.
‘Ruddington Group RDA has achieved a huge amount over the last 25 years,’ says Diana. ‘Our success in the RDA’s Musical Ride Competitions stands out – especially our second place in the National Championships in 2004 for our version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. We’ve taken part in countless shows and festivals, triumphed at the RDA North Midlands Regional Awards and even set up our own achievement award in 2010, in memory of our former rider, Gold Gallagher, who sadly passed away in 2003.’
The first recipient of the Gold Gallagher Achievement Award, Yauvan Teeluck, embodies the essence of the RDA and what they aim to do. When Yauvan first started with the Ruddington Group RDA, he couldn’t even sit up on his pony – he kept falling over its neck and couldn’t hold himself upright. But thanks to their help and instruction, Yauvan was able to ride almost unaided when he left the Group a couple of years ago. And it was the first local charity supported by Sainsbury’s when they opened their store in the village in 2010.
‘At the end of the day, Ruddington Group RDA is all about the children,’ says Diana. ‘Since 1988, we’ve taught around 300 children to ride. We’ve helped them take part in themed days, fun days, riding tests and competitions.
There’s a big party every Christmas and a Teddy Bear’s Picnic each September. Currently, we teach eight Nethergate School pupils on Tuesday afternoons and they all really look forward to their RDA sessions each week.’
For more information about Ruddington Group RDA, please contact Diana Haddon on 0845 450 6741 or visit www.northmidlandsrda.org.uk.
As you’d expect, a huge amount of time is spent by Diana and her fellow volunteers in raising vital funds to keep Ruddington Group RDA going. The Group holds an annual Spring Fayre at St Peter’s Rooms, runs bucket collections at supermarkets and receives donations from businesses such as Boots and Nottingham City Transport.