‘What a fantastic day!’ Princess Anne visits Louth disabled riding club

Princess Anne was all smiles during her visit to Louth.
Princess Anne was all smiles during her visit to Louth.

There are some things not even royalty can overcome...like when you run into a little trouble with your helicopter!

HRH Princess Anne was forced to delay her visit to the Lincolnshire Rural Activities Centre in Louth on Friday by just over an hour.

Princess Anne watched an exciting display of carriage way driving and horse riding displays.

Princess Anne watched an exciting display of carriage way driving and horse riding displays.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed The Princess Royal was not able to travel by helicopter from London as planned and that ‘alternative arrangements had to be put in place at short notice’.

That meant a longer-than-expected wait for the crowds and dignitaries at the centre...but no-one was complaining.

And when The Princess Royal did finally step out of her car, she was all smiles.

She was invited to the centre as part of the Lincolnshire Wolds Riding for the Disabled Association’s (RDA) 45th anniversary celebrations.

The Princess Royal presented a number of rosettes to the riders.

The Princess Royal presented a number of rosettes to the riders.

They are just one of the groups based at the centre and provide disabled people with vital therapy - and a sense of achievement and enjoyment.

A crowd of around 200 were in high spirits, excited to meet the Princess who, as a former Olympic rider, has always had a keen interest in all-things equestrian.

The official waiting party included the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Toby Dennis, Mayor of Louth, Coun Eileen Ballard and MP for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins.

Ms Atkins said: “I have been looking forward to this visit for a while now.

Carriage driving was the first display taking place in the arena.

Carriage driving was the first display taking place in the arena.

“It’s my first time to the facility and it’s amazing.

“I rode a lot as a child and I also used to volunteer with the RDA.”

Eight-year-old Sharissa Hubball was also waiting to meet the Princess.

Sharissa is one of the many youngsters who enjoy what the RDA has to offer and has seen big improvements in her lifestyle as a result.

Rider Evie Toombes,15.

Rider Evie Toombes,15.

The Louth youngster has a rare life-limiting condition called ‘Angelman Syndrome’ which leaves her unable to speak or walk.

Mum, Shari-Ann Hubball, said Sharissa was ‘very excited’ about meeting Princess Anne.

She said: “Sharissa was really happy. She didn’t stop smiling all day.

“She has been riding with the RDA for a year now and we have seen massive improvements in her core and leg strength.

“She wasn’t even able to lift up her head when she first started. Thanks to the RDA, riding has become her therapy and she couldn’t have progressed the way she has now without it.”

When the Princess Royal arrived, she enjoyed a tour of one of the centre’s classrooms, as well as seeing some exhilarating driving and riding displays in the main arena.

Flossie England,12.

Flossie England,12.

She presented rosettes to riders and horses and handed out some of the dedicated volunteers with long-service awards.

No task was too small for the Princess Royal who made sure she took the time to talk to everyone involved.

Colin Pitman, chairman of the LRAC charity, said: “We’re thrilled to see that Princess Anne has come back to see the RDA group.” again.

“The last time she came was in 1993 when the group were based in Willoughby near Alford.

“This £1.5million facility we have in Louth is brilliant and is here for use for all people with disabilities.”

Both the Lincolnshire Rural Activities Centre and the Lincolnshire Riding for the Disabled Association are looking forward to a positive future.

Centre manager Sarah Moss said: “It was an honour to have Princess Anne with us on Friday.

“We are really looking forward to the future.

“The centre is available for use by anyone and we are always on the lookout for new volunteers.”