A RIDING for the disabled group has received a £470,000 lottery boost.

The windfall, from the National Lottery Community Fund, will help with staff and running costs at Haworth RDA over the next five years.

Jackie Butterfield, who founded the group in 2001, said she was delighted with the funding – the third substantial award from the lottery over the years.

“We are so grateful to the National Lottery – I was in tears when I got the call to say we’d been successful with the latest application,” she said.

“The process took around eight months and involved contributions from a lot of people, but it was well worth the work.

“This grant will allow us to continue to provide disabled people with therapy sessions, which have a massive impact on their health.”

Jackie started the group as part of a college course, following a casual conversation – with one rider and pony and three volunteers.

Now the charity has 95 regular riders every week, a dozen horses and more than 40 volunteers – with a desperate need for more people to help out.

Provision includes group and private lessons, pony and after-school clubs, a luncheon club for adults and sessions during the school holidays.

“It’s just been amazing how things have snowballed since we began,” said Jackie.

“After starting out with one Saturday-afternoon session, we now operate six days a week.

“We’ve catered for hundreds of riders, of all ages, and when you see the transformation in them and how much they get out of the riding experience it’s just so wonderful and rewarding.

“Some children who have come to us in wheelchairs are now able to walk unaided.

“Parents get a huge amount out of it as well. They can see the development in their children, and have the chance to chat with other parents and enjoy some respite.”

Haworth RDA riders also take part in competitions nationally and overseas, with considerable success.

Earlier this year a group competed in Abu Dhabi.

And a four-strong contingent is next week taking part in a Special Olympics contest in Hamm, Germany.

* Anyone interested in volunteering with Haworth RDA can contact Jackie on 01535 649448.