Chief executive’s UK-wide ride challenge

  • Riding for the Disabled (RDA) chief executive Sam Orde joined volunteers in Kent last Wednesday (28 June) to raise funds for a new national training facility and headquarters.

    Mrs Orde is taking part in all 20 of the UK-wide Big Rides, which are taking place across the country this summer.

    She hopes to raise £20,000 towards the cost of building the training centre.

    On last week’s ride, which was organised by the Sevenoaks-based Bradbourne RDA group, Mrs Orde rode a 1km circuit with other participants, and a 10km loop of farmland with local RDA volunteers.

    “The Weald setting is simply superb. It’s such a treat,” she said.

    The aim of the Big Ride is to cover at least 1,000km in an accumulative total of rides, with RDA riders, carriage drivers and volunteers taking part.

    “I am riding an average of 15km at each event depending on abilities,” said Mrs Orde.

    The project to build the national training facility at Lowlands Farm near Warwick is currently going through the planning process.

    A “substantial amount” of the whole scheme’s £1.2m total cost has already been raised, said the RDA’s Caroline Ward.

    The first ride was on 9 April, with others taking part across the country this summer, ending up in Scotland in October.

    The ride last week, the fifth so far, was organised by the southeast RDA region.

    There are 35 RDA groups in the southeast across Surrey, Sussex and Kent. More than 2,000 riders of all ages enjoy riding, carriage driving, showjumping, dressage and endurance.

    The riders are supported by more than 1,000 volunteers, while instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every rider to aim for attainable achievements.

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