Disabled riding group volunteer wins unsung hero accolade with regional BBC Sport Personality of the Year Awards

Elizabeth Jones with Murphy at Kesteven Rideability. EMN-181123-174343001
Elizabeth Jones with Murphy at Kesteven Rideability. EMN-181123-174343001

A trip to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards is now on the cards for a volunteer with a riding group for disabled people based near Sleaford.

Elizabeth Jones of Kesteven RiDeAbility, based at the Paddocks Riding Centre in Hough on the Hill, has just received the BBC Regional Unsung Hero Award for the East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area and will now go forward to the Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero Award final next month in Birmingham.

Elizabeth, or Liz as she is known, is one of the group’s ‘wonderful’ volunteers and was nominated by a rider from the group as someone who really makes a difference to those who come to Kesteven RiDeAbility to enjoy the therapy that

riding a horse provides or to just to benefit from being around ponies and horses.

The award comes at a time when the group is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is seen by the group as a wonderful and fitting end to the year’s work.

Liz began volunteering with Kesteven Rideability four years ago and since then has helped thousands of disabled children, young adults and adult riders take part in riding sessions. Her nomination spoke of her empathy and how she

brings confidence and kindness to her riding sessions, bringing out the best in each of her riders.

Not only does Liz coach, she is a trustee and the group’s ‘safe-guarding’ person and also helped to set up the new Silver Hour programme which aims to bring elderly disabled adults to the stables to meet the ponies and to benefit from being around them. The programme ran weekly over the summer and Liz as the group’s Volunteer Coordinator helped to ensure that everything ran smoothly.

Fellow trustee Sue Ashton says that Liz works tirelessly for the group and is enthusiastic and passionate about what she does. She is often one of the first to volunteer when extra help is needed to enable the group to participate in other activities such as competitions, fundraising ventures or just taking a group of disabled riders on a special riding holiday. None of these could be done without volunteer support.

Liz was presented with her award by the team from BBC Look North (East Yorkshire and Lincs), after a day of very wet, cold weather. A film crew came to the stables to interview Liz and to film some of the daily activities that she is involved with as well as to meet other volunteers that she works alongside.

Sue said: “We did not know at this point that she had been chosen as regional winner believing only that she had been shortlisted. What a surprise we all had when gathered together for a photo later in the afternoon the Look North team produced a plaque and presented it to Liz.

“We are all so pleased for her – a well-deserved accolade.”