‘Athos’ puts smile on faces of people shielding

A local horse has been bringing a smile to the faces of vulnerable & socially isolated people.

Sister Mary Joy Langdon BEM, the nun who runs Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, has been busy riding around west London in an effort to spread a little joy by introducing people who have been shielding to one of her beautiful white Camargue horses, called ‘Athos’.

“Like several of our horses he was born and bred in the beautiful marshlands of the south of the Camargue in the South of France” Romaine Dennistoun, the Artist In Residence at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, told The Chiswick Calendar.

“Mary Joy’s ride in East Acton was so successful in bringing smiles to the lonely that she has been asked to do it again” she said.

“It was a very emotional experience. The aim was to bring a smile onto the socially isolated folk & it certainly did that. We also went to the primary school and met some of the children. Several  volunteers from the centre also joined the little street parade which was greatly appreciated” said Ms Langdon.

The riding stables, which provides riding lessons for severely disabled people, celebrated 50 years last year. The centre is in Shepherd’s Bush.

Video: watch Athos showing off his dressage skills in the roads of East Acton

Stables under threat of closure

A part of the larger group, Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), the running costs of the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre can be anything up to £250,000 a year and fundraising is a constant battle even in at the best of times. Like many small businesses and charities at the moment, the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the centre’s finances.

A GoFundMe page has been started with an initial target of £100,000 along with a message from HRH Princess Anne, The Princess of Wales saying:

“In times like this, the contribution of volunteers and organisations is more important than ever. Despite the fact that almost all RDA activity has shut down, I have been heartened by people’s determination and willingness to carry on supporting their groups and the RDA network.”

The Wormwood Scrubs pony Centre is at Woodmans Mews, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 0HU.

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