Rider marks 100th birthday by getting back in the saddle

  • A care home resident had her 100th birthday wish fulfilled when family and friends surprised her with a trip to her local stables.

    Audrey Merry had pinned a note on the “wishing tree” of Skylark House, Horsham, West Sussex, where she has lived since June, saying she hoped to “ride a horse again for the first time in 60 years”.

    She was accompanied to the special lesson at Horsham and Mid Sussex Equestrian Academy by supporters, including her daughter who now lives in Canada.

    Devendra Lallchand, home manager at Skylark House, said: “We always like to make an occasion of birthdays, and Audrey’s 100th birthday is no exception. She has had a lifelong passion for sports which she continues to pursue. She’s always first in line to take part in the activities the team provides for residents.

    “When we discovered Audrey wished to go horse riding again, we worked with her family to make her wish come true and ensure it was a birthday to remember. It was wonderful to see Audrey back in the saddle, she was an incredible confident rider and happily chatted as she rode around the paddock.

    “We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at the Horsham and Mid Sussex Equestrian Academy for helping make Audrey’s birthday extra special.”

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    Audrey was born on October 10, 1918 and spent much of her childhood in Walton-on-Thames. She said she believed “keeping fit” and taking part in “interesting activities” was the key to her long and happy life.

    “I’ve loved to exercise for as long as I can remember. As a child I even used to row across the Thames to get to school — I took one oar and my twin sister took the other, while our older sister was coxswain,” she said.

    “We became so good at rowing we were invited to join the school team. Horse riding with my twin sister was another passion of mine — I had no fear when it came to sports, and I’ll try anything!”

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