Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
12:56 PM 31st March 2017

A Royal Visit ...

Hannah and Alfie meeting HRH Princess Anne
Hannah and Alfie meeting HRH Princess Anne
On Wednesday 29th March 2017, Alfie and I had a very special day to get ready for. It was an early start to get Alfie looking clean and tidy for the day ahead.

A few months ago we found out that we would be receiving a special award from HRH Princess Anne.

The award was for special recognition and long term service to the RDA - Riding for Disabled Association, through the funds we have raised with the Little Alf books and also the awareness we have created for our local branch.

HRH Princess Anne was also visiting our local RDA branch on the day to mark the 25th anniversary, so it was an all-round day of celebrations.

The Princess is president of the RDA and was able to see on Wednesday some of the work the group does.

For both Alfie and I it was a bright and early start as Alfie had to have a bath and brush, which he doesn't enjoy very much.

Alfie isn't a fan of water, but he soon settled down as I applied shampoo to his knotted mane and tail. It took me around 2 hours to get Alfie looking tidy and fit for royalty.

Once Alfie had been pampered I loaded him onto the horse van and set off towards Catterick Saddle Club, where the meet was set to take place.

We had to be in position two hours early, so once we arrived I set up Alfie's pen for him in the sand mnage.

Alfie loves sand and always rolls so I had to keep an eye on him...

Unfortunately I took my eye off the ball for a minute and turned around to see Alfie with his legs in the air! Luckily you can just brush sand off so it wasn't a huge issue.

Hannah and Alfie meeting HRH Princess Anne
Hannah and Alfie meeting HRH Princess Anne
As 2 o'clock came round I think we both felt a little nervous but excited at the same time. We were given a briefing on how to act and what to say. This was my biggest worry as I'm quite prone to getting a little tongue tied!

Alfie's ears where on high alert and his beady eyes wide as he stood watching while HRH princess Anne entered the mnage and began to walk towards us.

The meet was around 10 minutes when we were presented with our award for 'Long term service' to the RDA.

It was an absolute honour to meet HRH Princess Anne. I was incredibly proud of Alfie for behaving so well.

I have put the award we received in a special cabinet in my office and will continue to look at it and remember the day I will never forget...