Dengie Volunteer of the Year 2021

Welcome to the Horse & Hound Awards 2021, which are back for the sixth year to celebrate the stars of equestrianism, in partnership with NAF

  • Recognising the sacrifice made by this volunteer to enable countless others to enjoy their sport or profession week in, week out.

    The winner of the Dengie Volunteer of the Year 2021 is Adrian Bigg

    ADRIAN, 75, has been instrumental in preserving and protecting rights of way. He has a long-standing involvement with the West Penwith Bridleways Association, of which he is chairman, and has also spent the past 18 years as an access and bridleways officer with the British Horse Society (BHS). He is nominated for his access work, which “will undoubtedly keep horses and riders safe on traffic-free rights of way for generations to come”.

    Why did you get involved with volunteering? “We came into horses quite late, in the 1980s/1990s,” says Adrian, explaining it was when the family moved to Cornwall that their involvement really started. “We have always been passionate about rights of way. We wanted to do something to make sure they are protected.”

    A highlight: “It is a process of education. The results we have achieved have been very gradual,” he says. He adds that volunteering is about working out what it is possible to do, without becoming despondent about things you can’t change. “We just try to see if we can improve things for all,” he says, explaining that that involves both users and landowners.

    This year’s other nominees were:

    Lowri Angharad

    LOWRI, 35, started riding aged four at her local riding school, helping out as much as she could, before owning horses herself. Seven years ago she sustained a serious ankle injury in a fall, and was advised not to ride again.
    Her involvement with horses is now through her daughter and as training officer for the Dyffryn Paith Riding Group in Wales. She is nominated as a “selfless person who stands in sunshine or sideways rain and always has a smile and an encouraging word”.
    Why did you become a volunteer? “There were 12 members when I became involved,” says Lowri. “At the AGM four years ago I was offered the training officer job and I took it on as a short-term thing. We now have 84 members, regular training, and people from all walks of life.”
    A highlight: “The proudest moment happens every time I go to training,” she says. “Training is on to cater for everybody. It is a community, rather than just a riding club. We all have a sense of humour and all help each other – that’s an important part of our club.”

    Jos Banks

    Jos, 80, has been involved with the Pony Club for more than 40 years. She was key to forming the mini camp at the Fitzwilliam branch in its current format 32 years ago and made the camp flag, based on the design from a competition winner. She made sandwiches for the 70-plus camp attendees and instructors each day up until 10 years ago, and now continues to make the instructors’ lunches and remains involved through her 10-year-old grandson.
    Why did you become a volunteer? “I got involved with the Pony Club when my daughter joined, 40 years ago. I was secretary for 20 years and then after that I have mostly done mini camp,” says Jos, who also ran the secondhand shop for around 30 years. “It is a way of keeping involved and I just enjoy it.”
    A highlight: “Many things – I can’t pick out one in particular! My birthday is always at mini camp, this year I was 80 and that was special,” she says. “Seeing Fitzwilliam member Sarah Cohen selected for the Olympics – she and my daughter were great friends coming up through Pony Club – and the Pony Club showjumping at Burghley is always a highlight.”

    Chris Trim

    CHRIS, 69, has volunteered in all manner of roles, from tea runs and fence-judging to lorry-park duties and a cross-country starter. He is known for his “big smile” and as a “friendly, helpful face, always up for a chat” who “represents the sport of eventing perfectly”.
    Why did you become a volunteer? “I started volunteering when my daughter was in the West Hants branch of the Pony Club. She grew up – she joined The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery – and that leaves a big hole in your life,” says Chris, who spends most weekends during the season volunteering at events across the country. “There’s a good little crew of us. I have got to meet an awful lot of nice people.”
    A highlight: “If I can achieve every rider going out of the start box with a smile on their face, I feel I have won the day. We all have our problems, so if I can get everybody to leave the box happy, just for that second, that’s pretty good for me,” says Chris.

    Previous winners of this award include:

    • 2020: Aged 81, Esme Fordham for her unstinting work at the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary
    • 2019: Olivia Robertson
    • 2018: Keith Watkins
    • 2017: Mary Tuckett
    • 2016: Jane Cepok

    About the Horse & Hound Awards 2021

    We’re back! The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the sixth year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF.

    Last year’s successful online H&H Awards achieved record participation, with nearly 58,000 votes cast. We were thrilled to be back in person for 2021, with a glittering ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse. Around 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, gathered to enjoy a glamorous evening of champagne and dancing as the winners were revealed.

    As previously, the H&H Award winners have been nominated and voted for by you. We seek to recognise both the big names who have made 2021 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.

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