In pictures: Princess Anne flies in to visit Formby horse riding school Bowlers

The Princess Royal flew by helicopter to nearby RAF Woodvale before making the short journey to meet staff and riders.

Princess Anne in Formby: Image Elisha Moynihan

Princess Anne has been to visit a Formby horse riding school to meet with disabled riders from the Merseyside area.

Her private Sikorsky helicopter flew into RAF Woodvale on Friday, an airfield near Formby which is used for both military and civilians.

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It is minutes away from Bowlers Riding School, which the Princess Royal walked to after landing.

Princess Anne hands out medals and meets the horses and riders at Bowlers. Image: Bowlers Riding School/RDA

Why did Princess Anne make the visit?

Princess Anne is known for her love of horses. She took part in her first riding competition aged 11 and was the first British royal to be selected to the British Olympic team in 1976.

She is President of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), a charity which helps provide riding, carriage driving, therapy and fitness skills for disabled adults and children.

Princess Anne meets a young rider in Formby.

Karen Southeran, Chair of Formby and Southport RDA said: “It was huge honour to receive HRH Princess Anne to Bowlers Riding School to celebrate 80 years of business and 52 years of RDA.

“She spent a delightful few hours walking around the stables, watching different displays, from both our able bodied and disabled riders.

“She took the time to chat to everyone.  HRH presented various awards to both our two legged and four legged friends, cut a celebratory cake and unveiled a plaque. It was a lovely way to celebrate the return of our RDA riders and volunteers.”

Princess Anna and meets 7-year-old Elisha Moynihan. Image: Elisha Moynihan

Meeting the riders

Elisha Moynihan, 7, a pupil at Ainsdale St John’s school has epilepsy and has been riding at Bowlers for three years.

She met the Princess Royal who presented her with a medal and rosette.

Elisha told LiverpoolWorld: “The Princess asked how long I’d been riding and the name of my horse, who is called Norma.

“She said it was lovely to meet me and told me to make sure I got a cupcake to eat.”

Princess Anne in Formby: Image Elisha Moynihan

What is RDA?

The charity, set up in 1969, helps over 25,000 people of all ages with physical, learning disabilities and autism.

RDA is supported by 18,000 volunteers and qualified coaches at nearly 500 RDA centres all over the UK.

RDA chief executive, Ed Bracher, visited Bowlers Riding School with Princess Anne.

He said: “After a year when all RDA groups around the UK had to close, a visit from our President is particularly special.

“The Princess has managed to make several visits to our groups since we came out of lockdown, and it means a huge amount to our riders and volunteers to have their vital work recognised in this way.”

Princess Anne talks with Elisha Moynihan on her horse Norma. Image: Elisha Moynihan
Princess Anne talks to one of the RDA riders. Image: Bowlers Riding School/RDA

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