During 2014 the St Neots and District Branch of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) attended many local events in order to raise awareness of the association and to collect donations for local good causes nominated by its members. In total the RNA raised £2,400 due to the generosity of the public.
Four organisations were nominated:
- Northbrook Equestrian Centre in Offord Cluny
- Dogs for the Disabled
- 2500 (St Neots) Squadron Air Training Corps
- Babac Bees, a local children’s musical theatre school.
Each received £600.
Detail of the presentations, and the intended to use of the donations and their RNA sponsor is described below:
Northbrook Equestrian Centre – Offord Cluny
The North Brook Equestrian Centre provides horse riding and grooming tuition to those with a disability. Increasingly help is being given to injured servicemen. It is a local establishment based in Offord Cluny dedicated to the well-being of all ages from tots to mature persons; it encourages confidence and independence for those less fortunate than others by passing on practical knowledge of how to groom and bond with horses.
Andrea Pavet-Golding manages the centre and can be seen accepting a cheque for £600 from her sponsor Elaine Rice a member of the St Neots Branch.
Andrea explained the donation will allow the centre to install mirrors around the riding ring where riders will be able to view their posture and improve their riding abilities.
Dogs for the Disabled
‘Dogs for the Disabled’ was formed in 1988 in the UK to help adults with physical disabilities who need assistance with every-day tasks that many of us take for granted. Typically help is given by picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, helping with dressing and undressing, loading and emptying the washing machine, and most important of all providing real companionship.
In 2004 the charity started to train dogs to help children with physical disabilities, and last year trained their 100th child partnership. Then in 2007 Dogs for the Disabled also started providing assistance dogs to support families with a child with autism. This was a service that was so well received that in 2010 the PAWS (Parents Autism Workshops & Support) programme was developed to help families affected by autism to train a pet dog to support the family. Since formation over 730 assistance dog partnerships have qualified, and by next year more than 1,000 families should have been supported by our PAWS service.
Marie Carden was invited by Maureen Ridley, St Neots Branch Welfare Officer, to give a talk to members about the work Marie and her dog Blue do to raise awareness of ‘Dogs for the Disabled’ in Cambridgeshire. Prior to Marie’s introduction Blue walked round introducing himself putting members at ease. Following Marie’s talk the RNA was delighted to present a cheque for £600 to ‘Dogs for the Disabled’.
2500 (St Neots) Squadron Air Training Corps
During the course of the year 2500 Squadron of the Air Training Corps can be seen around St Neots most weekends supporting many good causes. The squadron plays a major part at regular events in the town such as Remembrance Sunday and Armed Forces Day when their band can be seen and heard playing at the ceremonies.
Keith Ridley, Chairman of the St Neots Branch, was aware that the ATC band needed funds to expand their band with 3 or 4 silver bugles. As a token of thanks to the ATC Keith sponsored them for an annual award made by the RNA to local good causes. Keith can be seen here presenting a cheque for £600 to the ATC on behalf of the Branch.
Babac Bees, a local children’s musical theatre school
Kati Page, a member of St Neots Branch introduced Karen Johnson of Babac Bees, a local children’s musical theatre school.
During the presentation Karen told us Babac Bees encourages children between 4 and 18, regardless of ability, to enjoy working within a group learning team work, fitness and friendship. Formed in 2013 Babac Bees gives children the chance to perform at local events and other musical theatre experiences. Last August the children performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London and in December at Hinchingbrooke arts centre.
As a newly formed group Babac Bees needs to extend its wardrobe, scenery and microphones a difficult task as our aim is to keep costs to families as low as possible. This donation from the RNA will help towards these costs in the year ahead.