Nottinghamshire riding school celebrates 55 years in the saddle

  • Organisers are expecting in excess of 250 people at a reunion to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Bunny Hill Riding Centre in Costock, Nottinghamshire.

    Past pupils — including Loose Women, Dinner Ladies and Coronation Street actress Sherrie Hewson who rode at Bunny Hill in the 1970s — are travelling from as far afield as the USA and Portugal for the event.

    “We wanted to have the reunion five years ago but my father-in-law Bob Humphrey died and it just didn’t seem appropriate, so we waited for the next big milestone,” said Lou Humphrey, who runs the riding school with husband Sam.

    Thousands of pupils have passed through its gates, including several mayors and High Sheriffs of Nottinghamshire who have learnt to ride for official civic parades.

    Bunny Hill Riding Centre — formerly known as the School of National Equitation — was founded in 1955 by Freda and Bob Humphrey.

    Starting out with three or four pig stys used as stables, the centre was gradually built up, with one of the country’s first indoor arenas installed in 1967.

    It is the base for popular jousting team The Knights of Nottingham, who featured in Hollywood blockbusters Robin Hood and Gladiator.

    The troop was formed in 1970 and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year

    “We taught Michael Elphick from the [1990s] TV series Boon to ride and his stunt double, Bill Hammond, will be coming along on the 20th. All the horses featured in the series were ours,” Lou said.

    The Knights of Nottingham will be performing at the reunion, along with local band Growling At The Badger which comprises four farriers and a vet playing Irish folk tunes.

    For more information, or if you would like to attend, contact Lou Humphrey on 01509 852366 or see www.bunnyhill.co.uk.

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