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The Anne Thorpe Memorial Trophy is awarded for Participant’s achievement in the North West Region over the previous 12 months.  Anne Thorpe was our first Regional Chairman and supported RDA for over 35 years. Her family wanted Anne’s memory to be carried forward by an Annual Award, which was to be presented to a rider, vaulter or driver who had not necessarily won competitions and rosettes but who had really achieved a personal goal. 


Group Coaches or Trustees select one participant in their Group they feel is the most deserving. Someone who has overcome challenges in Communication, Confidence, Relationships, Horsemanship or who has made changes to their condition that was attributable to RDA.

The North West Regional Committee appoint unbiased judges to carefully review all entrants and award an overall winner based on the criteria and information given. Since 2014 when the Award was first presented it has always been exceptionally difficult to choose the Winner.

Nominations for 2019 close on 16 October 2019.  

Click here for further details / the Nomination Form



Anne Thorpe

2019 WInner

Andy MacKenzie, Nantwich and District

Many congratulations to Andy MacKenzie (Nantwich and District) who won the 2019 Anne Thorpe Memorial Trophy.

2018 Winners

Congratulations to the 6 finalists


1st place - Emma Heard from Mid Cheshire


2nd place - Dylan Eccles from Pegasus


3rd place - Kassia Dudek McGee from East Liverpool


4th place - Maryam Khan from Pegasus


5th place - Andrew Jones from Foresters Horn


6th place - Katie Reilly from Pegasus


Emma Heard is pictured receiving her award from guest speaker ITN Broadcaster Alastair Stewart OBE, at the North West Region's Celebration Lunch at Nunsmere Hall, on 30 October 2018.

2017 Winner

Craig Harrison, Foresters Horn

Craig receiving his Award from Olwyn Payton and Simon Leadbetter from Sainsbury’s Store in Nantwich who helped to judge this years finalists.

2017 fourth place winner

Eleanor Hawkins, Wirral and Chester

Eleanor came joint fourth with Fiona Airey from Pegasus Group, who received their Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Supra Conference. We would like to convey our thanks to the volunteers who made this award possible. It was a lovely surprise. Eleanor loves her riding on a Thursday with Wirral and Chester RDA and she has only missed one session since she started in July 2015. We have to tell her that Daz has gone on his holidays for the winter. Counting the weeks until Spring and the warmer evenings.

2016 Winner

Mo Vesty, Seaside Venture Group

Lancashire County Chairman Pat Holden:

"On Sunday 4th Dec I went to Seaside Venture Group's Christmas Party to present the Anne Thorpe Memorial Trophy for 2016 to Mo Vesty.

It was an absolutely lovely moment as she was totally SHOCKED. For me it was very humbling, as she kept saying she didn't deserve it. I assured her it WAS well deserved and she was totally happy. Both participants and volunteers in the Group were really pleased she had received recognition."


Mo was nominated by Beryl Clarkson and Chris Pollitt.

Mo started with the group in Autumn 2015.

Mo has Asthma, 2 types of Arthritis, Dislocating Joints & wears leg braces.


The citation reads:

In such a short space of time since starting riding with us she has passed her Grade 1 & 2 and is hoping to do Grade 3 by Christmas. We have to “rein” her in, as she is now so confident, chatty and bubbly.

Her new role is to promote the Group at events and Regionally, speaking when required and especially at the Participant event. At our recent 'Blessing of the Horse' she ended up with the Bishop sitting on the grass in full regalia enthralled by Mo’s life and RDA experiences. She is an ambassador and mentor for us all in life. She has developed poise, balance and skills and is a credit to RDA telling everyone the benefits (sometimes not seen) from riding.

2015 Winner

Ben Rosenberg, Mid Cheshire Group

Ben Rosenberg has been a rider with Mid Cheshire RDA for just over a year. When he came he didn't have a lot of confidence but he soon fitted into the group and soon started to impress us with how his riding improved.


In March we ran a 'have a go' day for the Countryside Challenge and as Ben did quite well we asked his parents if he would like to take part in the regional qualifier. We knew that he would be quite nervous about it and they weren't sure how he would react at a big occasion but having asking him Ben wanted to try. On the day he was very nervous and needed a lot of reassurance from his coach, Janet. He rode a great test and to everybody's amazement he came second – he had qualified for the RDA National Championships. We explained to his parents that this would be an even bigger event and that he might find it a bit daunting but after they spoke to him he was determined that he was going to go.


After much training with Janet the big day arrived – along with a disaster. Our horses were stuck on the M6 after it closed due to an accident and did not arrive at Hartpury. We had riders, helpers and no horses. Pendle kindly offered us the loan of Duster, and one of their volunteers who knew the horse, for Ben but we were very worried how he would react given that he was already extremely nervous. But he got on and rode. His parents and our volunteers were probably more nervous than he was once he got going. We could not believe it – he came fourth! There were tears all around at the presentation.


Ben overcame so much to make these achievements, and while we are proud of all our riders, we felt he richly deserved to receive the Anne Thorpe Memorial Trophy. This was presented at our recent race night and his reaction was fantastic.

2014 Winner

Brian Finch, Pendle Group

Brian thoroughly enjoys his riding lessons, despite having to travel a long way; he always endeavours to turn up. He is very focused when riding school movements and he aims for perfection whatever he does on the horse.


He started riding with Pendle RDA in May 2013 after bereavement of his beloved wife of sixty-eight years. Since then he has also overcome a bad back, which proved a major setback. Whilst riding Pride the mechanical horse, he has developed both physically and mentally. When he first started riding, he walked with the aid of a walking stick and was not very flexible, which made mounting and dismounting sometimes more of a challenge. He now walks unaided, without a walking stick and has no problems getting on or off. He has progressed so much that he was able to start riding a real horse this year for the first time in over fifty years.


Brian has definitely bonded with the helpers and there is always a small army turns out to see him when he visits. This is also a part of why Brian comes twice a week to ride, for the social aspect. There is always a brew waiting and he usually brings a selection of yummy cakes, to eat whilst he tells us stories about his life and time spent in World War II.He always joins in with any social event we have and contributes a lot to the group. He will help in any way he can and makes us Christmas cards and badges that are able to be sold for a profit for the group. He takes an interest in the other riders and has even donated a therapeutic massage chair for all the other riders to use!


Brian is a pleasure to teach and at the age of ninety-two he puts a lot of us to shame with his talent, youthfulness, dedication and commitment.

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