Local Sussex resident and volunteer at Chailey Heritage Foundation, Mary Duncan, has been honoured with the British Empire Medal for ‘Services to special educational needs and disabilities’ after 37 years of volunteering with the Charity.
Mary, who responded to a call out for volunteers from the Charity in 1979, has used her love of riding to support the young people at Chailey in the therapeutic riding and hippotherapy sessions that take place at the Foundation. Entirely funded by donations, the Charity provides six riding sessions on four days a week with over 20 children riding on a weekly basis, helping with their physical strength and co-ordination as well as general fitness and well-being. These specialist sessions are now also offered to people with disabilities living in the community.
Chief Executive of Chailey Heritage, Helen Hewitt comments, “Mary’s commitment to the team is second to none. She is here come rain or shine and is always very welcoming to new riding volunteers and willing to guide and share her experiences and knowledge with them to make them comfortable, and feel part of the team. We are very grateful to Mary and all our volunteers for their dedication and commitment.”
Chailey Heritage Foundation relies on volunteers like Mary and donations and fundraising activity to provide facilities such as the therapeutic riding and hippotherapy to its students. This year Chailey Heritage has embarked on its D.R.E.A.M. (Dynamic, Real, Experiential, Amazing, Magical) Centre appeal, to raise monies for a modern, purpose-built space, large enough for children and young people with complex disabilities to participate in a mixture of arts, drama and physical activities. Presently they can only perform to a small audience in the old hall, where the young people in wheelchairs can only access the stage via an outdoor side entrance with ramps.
The D.R.E.A.M. Centre Appeal aims to raise £2.6 million to fund the project. To donate to The D.R.E.A.M. Centre Appeal, or give DREAMTime, please visit www.chf.org.uk/dreamcentre or contact Sally-Anne Murray, Development Director on 01825 724752.