A woolly way to raise funds

Martin Atkinson and Jonathan Carter from Northumberland Cheese Company test their soapbox.
Martin Atkinson and Jonathan Carter from Northumberland Cheese Company test their soapbox.

A TEAM of baa-rmy thrill seekers from a county business will be taking on a fun challenge in support of disabled riders.

Cheese-makers Martin Atkinson, Jonathan Carter, Craig Smith and Andrew Middleton will be whizzing down steep slopes in the Simonside Hills in their sheep-shaped soapbox racer.

It is not all about speed, however, because the 1.6km course involves pushing vehicles uphill as well.

The quartet from The Northumberland Cheese Company have agreed to take part in the Simonside Challenge and are raising funds for the Morpeth Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group, based at the Pegasus Centre in Tranwell, and the Percy Hedley Foundation.

The firm has been making farmhouse cheeses in the heart of Northumberland since 1984.

In 1996, it moved to a 19th century granary on the Blagdon Estate and today it produces a full range of 16 artisan cheeses.

Bethany Swash, who works in the brand development department, said that the company was delighted to be supporting disabled riders.

“We know of the great work done by the staff and volunteers at the Pegasus Centre to help disabled children and adults through the provision of riding lessons,” she added.

“We also know that the care of horses does not come cheap and we are delighted to be able to help raise funds for the RDA group.”

The Pegasus Centre is the home of the Morpeth RDA Group, one of over 600 RDA groups throughout the UK providing people with disabilities with the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health through education and fun riding sessions with horses.

Each week, more than 100 people with a wide range of disabilities, young and old, from throughout the region take part in riding lessons, competitions and other activities.

Some riders come from local schools and some come from care homes and for many of them, the visit is the highlight of their week.

Funds raised by the Northumberland Cheese Company team for the Morpeth RDA group will go towards buying a new horse and continued care for its existing horses.

Pegasus Centre manager Martin Peagam said: “We are delighted that this business is supporting us in this way.

“Having seen the course, they are either brave, fool-hardy, or both. We would encourage people to sponsor these intrepid adventurers in their epic challenge.”

The Percy Hedley Foundation meets the needs of disabled people with cerebral palsy, communication impairments, sensory impairments and complex learning, social care and therapeutic needs.

It provides a wide range of services to over 1,000 families each year.

Anyone interested in supporting the team can make a donation via the Northumberland Cheese Company website or at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/northumberlandcheesecompany1