The recent British Horse Society’s (BHS) annual Sefton Awards celebrated three individuals who have recently made significant contributions to equestrian safety.
The Sefton Awards were set up by the BHS in 1984 as a legacy to Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse who survived the IRA bombings in London in 1982.
Those honoured at this year’s awards were: Derek Thomas MP, Michelle Clark and Julie Doorne.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS said: “All recipients of a Sefton Award have demonstrated considerable passion and determination to improve the safety of equines and equestrians across the UK. The work these particular individuals have undertaken over the past year has been truly commendable and all of us at the BHS are extremely grateful for their outstanding efforts and commitment”.
Member of Parliament for St Ives, Derek Thomas, was acknowledged for his efforts in bringing the safety of horses and riders to the forefront of parliamentary discussion over the past year. Derek was also commended for his continual support to equestrians in his constituency, championing the BHS’s ‘Dead Slow’ campaign messages.
Derek said: “We have lots of rural roads in my constituency so it makes sense to be doing more to make sure horses and riders are safe. Awareness is the key to this so I was glad I could use what influence I have as a local MP to bring the attention to my colleagues in parliament.”
Michelle Clark was recognised for her work in Surrey, where her fundraising and safety campaigning resulted in additional road signage being erected in her local area. Michelle’s campaigning followed a tragic car incident, resulting in the death of two horses and serious injuries for Michelle. Her efforts will directly improve the safety of many equestrians in her area.
Michelle said: ” “You don’t expect something like that to happen to you on a normal Sunday morning hack, especially when you’ve ridden the road for as many years as I have. I will do as much as I can for everyone but I just want more people to have more road safety awareness. With the money we’ve raised, we will have our road signs up before the end of this year and we’ve got an agreement with local farmers to put them up so they can be clearly seen from the roads.”
Julie Doorne was praised for her work surrounding the effects indiscriminate use of fireworks can have on horses and other animals. Julie has worked effortlessly to raise awareness of the welfare and safety issues surrounding fireworks and has presented two petitions, with a combined 204,000+ signatures to Parliament.
Julie said:“I couldn’t believe it when the letter came through the door, I’ve never received anything like this before. I couldn’t have done this without the help of lots of individuals, people who put in 8-10 hours of work a day in! The petition is on 350,000 at the moment and I would really like to get it to 500,000.”