The founder of a Northamptonshire charity that helps children with special needs by providing them with riding lessons and pony care has been awarded an MBE.
Angela Doughty, aged 80, of Walgrave, set up the Wilby Riding for the Disabled Trust in 1996 as a way of passing on her passion for the therapeutic qualities of animals, in particular horses.
The trust, now based at Moulton College, uses ponies bred at her previous home in Wilby.
Children and young people who attend schools in the Northampton and Kettering areas, including Kingsthorpe Grove, East Hunsbury and Fairfields use the trust’s facility, which is open during the week and on Saturdays.
Mrs Doughty said she felt the honour was recognition for her team of 50 volunteers and the therapeutic value gained by close contact with animals.
She said: “It is difficult to describe how I feel. I was very surprised when I found out.
“I have been very lucky in my life that I have been brought up around animals and I have always found them a huge help.
“But there are many children who don’t have the chance to use these facilities.
“We found the ponies can help children who have problems with social or communications skills.”
Mrs Doughty, who has four children and nine grandchildren, said she hoped her honour would help raise the profile of her trust, which is a registered charity, and help with fund-raising.