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Princess Royal praises riding charity

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Princess Royal praises riding charity

THERE was warm praise for the Riding for the Disabled movement by a smiling Princess Royal on a visit to the border country on Tuesday.

Volunteers, sponsors, parents and riders of all ages from North Cumbria and Annandale and Eskdale were among those who greeted the the President of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) at Blackdyke Riding Centre, near Longtown.

After arriving by helicopter, the Princess looked happy and relaxed as she chatted to supporters of the charity, watched demonstrations and presented rosettes to riders for a variety of achievements.

ANNE horses BA 10Among those who demonstrated their riding skills for the Princess was Gretna Primary School pupil Lewis Nixon.

She later chatted to him and learned that he was celebrating his ninth birthday.

Proud parents Steph and Allan Nixon, of Croft Road, Gretna, watched as, led by a volunteer, he rode on horseback round the main arena with fellow RDA students.

Steph explained that attending Blackdyke activities had proved very beneficial to Lewis, who has aspergers and tourette syndrome.

She said: “He really enjoys it and the horse riding seems to relax him. It proves very therapeutic.”

This was the second time Lewis had seen the Princess Royal as their paths crossed when she met local school pupils on an official visit to Gretna last May.

Tuesday’s royal visit was prompted by the 43rd anniversary of the RDA’s Carlisle and district branch.

Princess Anne, who unveiled a commemorative plaque, praised the work of all the volunteers who had been involved the branch down the years.

She said: “You have given people a lot of chances and supported Riding for the Disabled, locally and across the country.”

The Royal visitor was accompanied by HM Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria Claire Hensman and took the opportunity to meet representatives from a number of other local organisations.

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