The Northern Ireland Branch – British Driving Society held its first 2017 carriage drive – a charity drive in aid of Marie Curie Nurses – on Easter Monday from Mossvale Equestrian Centre (by kind permission of Mossvale Riding Club, Dromara, Co Down) to complete a seven mile drive around the local area.
The event was organised by Mr. and Mrs. M Ward and family, Ballyward, Co.Down.
The spring weather was excellent, the scenery magnificent, the gorse in full bloom, the spring lambs skipping in the fields and a spectacular array of horse drawn vehicles for the spectators en route to enjoy.
Those participating were Mervyn Ward (Ballyward) driving a team of Welsh Cobs ‘Fronarth Cardi Express’ and ‘Fronarth Navigator’. ‘George’ and ‘Fred’ put to a painted Wagonette with original type wheels. The grooms were Eugene Larkin, David Mathers, Lewis Orr, Neil Weir, and Chelsie Orr.
John McDermott (Carrickfergus) drove A Unicorn of Clydesdale Horses (nine year old Alex, five year old Sam with 10 year old Poppy the leader) put to a 1910 Haulage Dray painted green. John purchased the vehicle in poor condition in Ballinamallard, Co. Fermanagh 10 years ago and restored it with the assistance of Eugene Larkin. The Clydesdale horses work on his farm and are also broken to be ridden.
Richard Logan (Randalstown) with groom Terry Logan drove four coloured horses, 22 year old Tommy, 15 year old ‘Tucker’, 14 year old ‘Ziggy’ and 13 year old ‘Zack’ to an ECC Training Vehicle. Richard uses his team to event.
Sarah Clinghan (Banbridge) with groom Lela Purdy harnessed eight year old ‘Flash Harry’-a chestnut gelding to A Bennington Exercise Vehicle.
Jill Castles (Lurgan) with groom Ruth Cavanagh drove ‘Golden All Smiles’ a seven year old Palomino Pony to an Exercise Vehicle.
The Best Turnout was judged by Artist Mr. Graham Quigley (Antrim) who designed and made a trophy in the shape of a ‘Snowdrop’ on a wooden plinth. He chose the winner as Mr. Mervyn Ward driving a team. Graham said the turnout reminded him of his childhood days whenever his grandparents would have taken him out in their turnout for a drive.
The stewards were Paul Ward, David Ward, Jenna Ward, James O’ Hare, Jonathan Kelly, Billy Drake, Ruby Strain, Robert Strain, Staceyann Strain, Hannah Orr, Norman Brown, and Gordon Bell.
Mrs. Gillian Orr and her team prepared the excellent cuisine which was enjoyed by all.
St John’s Ambulance was in attendance. Margaret Carlisle was in charge of the raffle and the winners received lovely gifts donated by generous friends and sponsors.
The chairman of NIB– BDS, Liz Kelly-Ward wishes to thank everyone who helped in any way to make the day successful. To date £1,200 has been raised and all monies received will be donated to Marie Curie Nurses.