The local children’s charity - Horse Rangers Association - celebrated its 60th Anniversary with a unique Royal Gala Dinner in the Cartoon Gallery and Great Hall of Hampton Court Palace
The Palace, recognising its close affiliation to the young people’s charity over many years, gave rare permission to hold the event in thehistoric room.
HRA Trustee Gemma Ratcliffe, who organised the event, says “It was a privilege and remarkable gesture, made by the kindness of sponsorship by the Palace. We are also greatly honoured that our patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, attended as well as the Mayors of Richmond, Kingston and Elmbridge”.
The special occasion was part-sponsored by Bentalls and NatWest. Geoffrey Godbold, Director of HRA says “Sponsorship for our charity is vital. The costs of running our operation are great. Also, without the 200 volunteers we have, we couldn’t exist.”
Guests weregiven a guard of honour by young Horse Rangers as they were shown through the courtyards to the Queen’s Stairs to admire the private apartments, through the Communications Gallery and on to the Cartoon Gallery. Then they were led through the Haunted Gallery and the Great Watching Chamber to the Great Hall.
The charity is based in the Royal Mews at a peppercorn rent. It used to be the old Falconry for the Palace and is a stone’s throw away along Hampton Court Road adjacent to the Royal Bushy Park. Horse Rangers has an indoor arena and fields within the Park. Bushy was given, in 1529, by Cardinal Wolsey to King Henry Vlll as part of a gift which also included Hampton Court.
The Horse Rangers Association was founded 60 years ago to promote the philosophy that horse management & riding should be available to all young people & not restricted tothe wealthy.
Today, the organisation utilises its 30 horses to assist in the personal development of Rangers. Over 400 members, from all backgrounds& abilities, are formed into cadet squadrons, learning comradeship, teamwork & the importance of taking responsibility.