Riding for Disabled volunteer Susie is hailed a charity hero

Susie Elliot MBE and Ed Bracher chief executive of RDA national.
Susie Elliot MBE and Ed Bracher chief executive of RDA national.

A Borders volunteer has been recognised for devoting more than half a century to working to improve access to horse-riding for disabled people.

Susie Elliot picked up an outstanding contribution award at this year’s National Equestrian Awards, organised by Horsescotland.

Susie, of Minto, has served as chairwoman of the Borders branch of Riding for the Disabled for the past 25 years and has 50 years of volunteering, both locally at the group and nationally within the association, under her belt.

Made a Member of the British Empire in 2000 for her charity work, she went from being a community volunteer in 1968 to becoming one of the charity’s most successful and influential fundraisers.

She helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity and was instrumental in setting up state-of-the-art riding facilities at Monteviot, near Ancrum, in 1996.

Susie said: “I have worked nationally as a trustee of the association for the past nine years and as chairwoman of the Borders group for the past 25 years.

“When you get involved with this charity, you are soon here, there and everywhere.

“This award was a surprise.”

The Borders group, one of 55 branches in Scotland and 500 nationally, regularly welcomes around 60 riders each week.

Children from 21 different schools also use the centre, manned by around 50 volunteers, as does the Borders Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“I thought it was nice for the association’s anniversary to be recognised by Horsescotland,” Susie added.

“It encourages people to come and see us and get involved.”

Association chief executive Ed Bracher presented Susie’s outstanding contribution award to her at a ceremony at the Doubletree Dunblane Hydro near Stirling.

He said: “Susie has inspired countless others, supported groups to expand and helped them to fundraise and gain confidence.

“She has been a powerful advocate for the charity both in Scotland and across the UK.

“Most importantly, she has always put our participants first and really made sure that we understand that they are what matters.

“She has a healthy disregard for people who say things are not possible.”

“Thank you to Horsescotland for marking our 50th anniversary and allowing us to show off the power and importance of our volunteers.”