HRH the Princess Royal visited a farm near Worcester last week to mark 25 years of Riding for the Disabled at Longlands Farm, Whitbourne.
Children from Fort Royal Special School in Worcester with their staff, students from Longlands care farm, and staff and volunteers welcomed Princess Anne for a demonstration, tour of the farm and presentation at Longlands.
Julia Evans, RDA group leader and farmer, was presented with a long service award by the Princess – as were two of the ponies that the children ride. All of the riders and students were presented with commemorative rosettes.
Longlands RDA group is unique in having a link with the care farm, where teenagers, most of whom are excluded from mainstream school, access alternative educational provision – experiencing real work on a farm and completing land based studies.
The students help with the RDA group, enabling disabled youngsters to experience the joy and freedom that riding can bring. They in turn benefit from the challenges and rewards of supporting children with learning difficulties.
Julia Evans won the BBC Countryfile Farming Hero award last year for her pioneering work. She said: “It was a huge honour to host The Princess Royal , every one worked so hard in the preparations and on the morning were so excited (except for the ponies who took it completely in their stride !).
"It was when the helicopter came into view that you thought, ‘Wow this is really about to happen ...Action stations!‘”