IT was a day of smiles and sunshine at Terally Bay Riding Centre near Port Logan on Tuesday when HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the centre’s indoor arena and met members of the local Riding for the Disabled Association.
Arriving by helicopter to nearby New England Bay, Princess Anne was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Wigtown, Mrs Terry Brewis and her husband Francis. The Princess was then driven to the riding centre where she was introduced to the Deputy Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council Brian Collins and his wife Hilary; Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson and his wife Merryn: Terally Bay Riding Centre owners Allan and Linda Torrance and RDA officials Sam Orde, Margaret Morgan, Betty Howard, Sue Gourlay, Margaret Barbour and Christine Wilson.
The Princess then joined 200 guests inside the-state-of-the-art arena to watch two demonstrations by RDA members.
Showing off their equestrian skill to Royalty were, in the first group, Craig McClymont, Ami Brown, Dejay Macleod, Ross Fisher and Lee Wither on equestrian stars Cassie, Lollipop, Splash, Kestral and Poppy. In the second group, who performed to music, were James Gray Jnr, Simon Gibson, Ruari Thompson and Abigail Thomson riding Micky, Harry, Samson and Kestral.
The Princess then went into the arena to met the volunteers and present each rider with a rosette, carried in a basket for her by eight-year-old Cameron Hunter. She the mingled with groups of supporters, volunteers and trustees before presenting the William McDowall Memorial Cup to Debs Millington, the inspiration behind the Terally Bay RDA, in recognition of the groups hard work.
Finally, the Princess unveiled a commemorative plaque to celebrate the opening of the indoor arena. She then gave a short speech commenting on the importance of the work of the volunteers and that the creation of facilities like Terally to made it possible for RDA groups to survive.
As she left the arena, Princess Anne was presented with a posy of flowers by Lorna McQuillan and Katie Scott, both aged seven.
In the aftermath of the Royal visit, RDA rider Ellie Edwards said she though the Princess was “beautiful” while Logan Spiers said meeting her was “very nice”.
Terally Bay Riding centre owner Linda Torrance said: “Today has been very successful and the display for the Princess was absolutely faultless.
“We built the indoor facility in 2009 and we are so glad that we did. We have had a lot of support locally and its been great for groups like the RDA to have an all weather facility. But there is no rest for us, We now have Pony Club Camp arriving for a week!”
Debs Millington, who started the Terally Bay RDA in 2009, said the Royal visit had been “fantastic”, adding “everything ran to plan”.
It’s an exciting year for Debs who, so far this summer, has met a Princess and carried the Olympic Torch. She is now heading for the London Olympic to watch the Dressage event at Greenwich Park.