To celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2019, Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign, telling the stories of some of the amazing people who make RDA the extraordinary organisation it is today.
Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability and volunteering, and to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of RDA, 50 Faces features a collage of portraits, as well as the surprising and often moving stories of horse riders, carriage drivers and volunteers from all over the UK.
“A 50th anniversary could be a time for looking back, but we wanted to celebrate where we are now, as leaders in disability sport, and also look to our future – helping even more disabled people to benefit from time with horses.” says Caroline Ward, Communications Manager at RDA UK. “50 Faces is an engaging and interactive way for people to find out more about what we do – and will hopefully inspire more people to get involved.”
Here we meet… Josh Levett
As the son of Australian eventer, Bill Levett, horses have always been a big part of Josh Levett’s life and it was almost inevitable that he would want to follow in his famous father’s footsteps.
His journey with RDA began when he was considering what to do for the volunteering section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Following a conversation with his mum and dad, Josh, who is 14 years old, decided to volunteer with his local RDA group, Stratford RDA, which was just up the road from where they lived.
Said Josh: “I went along to the centre and they were so welcoming that I really enjoyed being a volunteer, right from the start. For me, side-walking is the thing that I enjoy doing the most, because I love chatting to the riders, getting to know them and seeing how they progress.”
“My dad thinks that my favourite bit is the biscuits that you get at the end of the day but this is not quite true!”
Josh has caught the Eventing bug and hopes to make eventing his profession when he finishes his education. He loves the adrenaline rush of riding cross-country
He has two talented horses, Tommy and Smarty, and he competes them at Novice/CIC** level with the aim of entering his first CCI**this year.
“I like watching Dad ride because I can learn so much from him. He is encouraging but compared to some other people he teaches, he is much tougher on me. Dad needs to watch out though, because I have my eye on a couple of his horses!” added Josh with a smile.
Josh continues to volunteer with RDA even though he has now completed his Duke of Edinburgh Award and finds that it fits in well with his studies and riding.
“It is nice to be able to give something back to the community and seeing how much the riders love it is so rewarding. I also love feeling a part of the team at Stratford RDA. There is something special about volunteering with RDA and it’s great fun.”
You can read Josh’s story and meet the other 49 Faces of RDA at www.rda.org.uk
Photo Credit: Fiona Scott Maxwell