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Veteran volunteer gets a royal appointment

After almost four decades of service to a Buxton-based charity set up in her late daughter's name, Pat Atkin was invited to Buckingham Palace.

Pat, who is one of the founding members of Helen Atkin Group, Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) in 1987, was one of just two representatives from national RDA groups to be asked to attend a recent Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Typically British rain showers failed to dampen spirits as she and Lynne Mordecai, RDA Regional Chair for South East Wales, joined scores of other guests at a select gathering to celebrate their loyal work in communities across the UK.

William, Prince of Wales; Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie; and Peter and Zara Phillips, children of Anne, the Princess Royal – who is President of National RDA – were among those present at the prestigious event, which Pat says she will remember for the rest of her life.

“The weather wasn’t very kind, but we were on cloud nine all day and it was a real thrill to see the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family in person, as well as to meet other guests who support a wide variety of organisations and causes all over the country,” said Pat, who has served as group treasurer for 37 years.

“I was so excited when I received the invitation, and even more thrilled on the day itself – not just for myself, but also for my late husband John, my late daughter Helen, and all the people who have worked so hard over the years to make Helen Atkin Group Buxton RDA the thriving, proactive charity it is today.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that, from small beginnings, we would scale such heights to build our fabulous covered arena, successfully compete in RDA events at regional and national level and be on the point of reintroducing regular carriage driving sessions. It’s absolutely fantastic, and way beyond the expectations I had when we first started out all those years ago.”

Group chair Janine Frost added: “Pat has worked tirelessly since our group was launched to help make it the huge success it is today. We are all incredibly proud of her achievements, and are delighted that her many years of hard work and dedication have been acknowledged in such a prestigious way.”

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