Lesley Hewitt

Service badges for Riding for the Disabled Daylesford volunteers that should have been awarded at the end of 2020 were distributed at a ceremony last week.

Wendy Hogben, currently the President of RDA Daylesford, was recognised for her outstanding contribution. She was presented with her 25-year service badge by Vice President Lainey Curr. Wendy was one of the founding members of RDA Daylesford. In those 25 years, Wendy has led by example, being positive, enthusiastic and utilising the skills she has to the benefit of the Centre.

In 1995 Wendy was working as an integration aide at Daylesford Secondary School. Along with Stephanie Ashley, the secondary school Integration Coordinator, she was instrumental in starting Daylesford RDA. Wendy has remained a volunteer serving as coach and serving on the Committee of Management for each of the 25 years since. Wendy is the only foundation member to have remained involved for the entire time. Wendy has served as Centre President since 2008.  As Wendy said “RDA is better than sliced bread…if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have turned up rain, hail or shine.”

Sally Armstrong (left) and Lainey Curr.

At the ceremony, Wendy presented service badges to the following volunteers:

  • 3 Year Badge – David Rak. David volunteers at Maryborough and Daylesford RDA. David, who has represented Victoria at both RDAA National Championships and Special Olympics National Games assists with RDA horse training and horse welfare.
  • 5 Year Badge – Sally Armstrong. Sally joined RDA 5 years ago after she saw an advertisement in the local paper. Sally has been the Treasurer since 2019 and is a skilled and generous volunteer with non-verbal riders.
  • 10 year Badge – Jeanette Oakes. Jeanette was the Treasurer and Stable Manager for many years. Jeanette also led the RDA catering team, a mighty fund-raising effort. Her wisdom and insights were valued but she decided to retire during the past year and is missed.
  • 10 year Badge – Lainey Curr. Lainey, who started riding at Daylesford when she was 8, is the Vice President, Rider Representative on the Committee of Management and an assistant coach. Lainey was acknowledged as a great role model for younger riders, showing them what they can achieve if they work at it.
  • 20 years – Lesley Hewitt. Lesley, who is the Secretary and one of the coaches at Daylesford has also volunteered at RDA Moorabbin, RDA Doveton and RDA Collingwood.

In 2021, RDA Daylesford is going strong with 12 new volunteers joining the seven who returned after COVID.  Their commitment has meant that the program could re-commence, having been missed by all the riders.