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Whizz the RDA pony joins clap for carers with new NHS look

The weekly Thursday evening “clap for carers” initiative has grown somewhat since its inception.

But as more people across the country cheer, bang saucepans and play digeridoos in support of those working on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, one pony and his owners have gone a step further.

Pony Club and Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre Park Lane Stables, in Teddington, London, has shown its support by clipping Annie’s Whizz, a 15-year-old equine stalwart of the centre, in an unusual way.

Centre owner Natalie O’Rourke told H&H “Whizz” had benefited from the clip, as he is a “hairy Mary” and the weather has turned so warm, and that the safe, washable colour was applied only to the parts left hairy.

“We wanted to get more involved with the clapping for carers, so we clipped NHS on one side and a rainbow on the other,” she said.

“We took him out during the clap on Thursday and people on the street were applauding him.”

Natalie said the yard is in a residential, urban area, and that Whizz’s appearances in the neighbourhood have not only promoted goodwill and amusement but have also inspired locals to donate to Park Lane, which like all RDA centres has lost its income during lockdown.

She added that Whizz was named after a young Pony Club member who died of meningitis.

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“I asked her dad what we could do to help and he asked if we could name a pony after her,” Natalie said. “He was already called Whizz – which doesn’t suit him as he’s as slow as a boat but we needed him to be gentle and reliable, which he is – so we named him after her, and he’s been magic. He loves people and he’s recently been going around the neighbourhood, spreading a bit of cheer.

“Annie’s family is so pleased he’s spreading goodwill in her name.”

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