Disabled riders get cash boost

John Leadley and Peter Ross present a cheque on behalf of The Freemason's of County Durham and Tom Urwin presents a cheque on behalf of Washington Lodge and St Georges Lodge to Linique Hawkins, volunteers and riders on behalf of Washington Riding centre.

John Leadley and Peter Ross present a cheque on behalf of The Freemason's of County Durham and Tom Urwin presents a cheque on behalf of Washington Lodge and St Georges Lodge to Linique Hawkins, volunteers and riders on behalf of Washington Riding centre.

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A CENTRE which helps change the lives of disabled people has received a cash boost.

Washington Riding Centre provides weekly lessons to about 130 children and adults with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties.

The centre, which opened in 1977, has instructors who offer trail rides through forests and woods as well as an indoor and outdoor arena, specialist mounting and dismounting equipment as well as an assembly, teaching and lunch room.

The organisation relies on donations to help it operate.

Now, the Freemasons have handed over £800 to help the centre, with £500 coming form the Durham branch and £300 from the Washington and St George’s Lodges.

Durham Freemason John Leadley, 70, of Offerton, said: “Basically the centre appealed to us for some help and we were happy to help.

“I’ve been up to the riding centre because I live locally and I know that they do a lot to help people and that’s the most important thing.”

Jane Cherry, 47, who has been centre manager for 20 years, already has plans to put the donation to good use.

She said: “It’s going towards a special saddle that can be used on different horses rather than just being specially made for one. It’s expensive, but we can use it on a few horses and lots of the riders with disabilities will be able to use it.”

Jane was keen to point out the benefits that horse riding can have to people with disabilities.

“People can have more independence and it builds self-esteem.They can build relationships with their instructors as well as the horses.

“They are coming out of their home environment and socialising with other people as well as building new relationships.”

Jane also said that the economic climate was having an effect on donations.

Jane said: “People don’t have that extra cash. Now we have to operate more like a business and try and make as much money as we can to just about cover our running costs so getting a donation like this is a great help.”

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