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The Christmas lunch at the York Club was a great success with 40 people attending. We had the usual magnificent spread with all the traditional Christmas favourites followed by a selection of delicious desserts.

This year's lunch was extra special as we were joined by two RDA guests - Anne Coney, the South Region Chairman and Mary Iliffe, the Berkshire County Chairman. Mary presented John Rackham with a 25 year service award and Pat Waller with a 35 year service award.

Mary presented Brigid Hamill with a 35 year service award and the 'Over and Above' award. Anne then presented Brigid Hamill with the Susan Dudley-Smith award. This award recognises the effort, service and self-sacrifice that people make in order to help others and highlights the achievements and efforts of volunteers involved in RDA Carriage Driving. It is very well deserved by Brigid for her contribution to the group over many years.

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More photos in the Photo Gallery.

The Group has recently received two very generous donations for which we are very grateful.

Sunningdale Savoy Chorus presented Roy Smith, our secretary, with a giant cheque for £750 at their Gala Year concert in October 2011.

We also received £2,000 from Ascot Round Table.

These donations will be put to very good use, particularly as we have had to buy a new pony to replace Bomber and the cost of feed and everything else keeps going up.

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Bomber, aged 26,  has been a wonderful driving pony with our Group for the past 18 years and has remained in remarkably good health for nearly all those years. He was very kindly given to us, all those years ago, by Mr. and Mrs. Blundell.

He has never let the Group down and has been driven by many of our disabled members for all those 18 years, and in the early days he was the only pony our then Instructor, Major Tommy Thompson would drive.  It is only in the last three weeks that he has gone downhill rapidly and after our vet of many years came to see him, it was decided to have him put down, which happened on 11th October. It is very sad but the kindest thing to do and he will be remembered with great fondness. He was a great character, very bossy with all the other ponies, except very recently, when he had to give up his top position to our new pony, Major – after six months of being separated, otherwise war broke out!

He is irreplaceable but it is very much hoped we will soon have another pony, called Albert, to join our Group.

The two photos below show Bomber doing his favourite thing - eating!

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Sally, Ellie and Sue attended the annual Volunteers of the Year awards organised by Windsor and Maidenhead Voluntary Action held at Dorney Lake on 6th October 2011. The Group's volunteers were entered into the team category – we didn't win but received this certificate and enjoyed the evening.

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It is very sad to report that Dennis Tosland, at the age of 93, has died. He was a very long serving and loyal helper with the Driving Group, for many years driving the trailer with our ponies to many events, even when he was 90 and always on hand to help in many other ways. He will be much missed.

Casper and several members of the Group took to the streets of Ascot for the annual Alexandra Rose Day collection.  Everyone wore pink - including Casper who was sporting a very fetching sash. The day was a great success - everyone stayed dry and more than £250 was raised for the Group.

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More photos in the Photo Gallery.